Work Experience

What is work experience?

Getting experience of working is invaluable to groups of people leaving school or searching for work.  It is a real opportunity to learn about what it feels like to perform in a role.

Work experience is a government scheme which is described as “a placement on an employer’s premises in which a pupil carries out a particular task or duty, more or less as would an employee, but with an emphasis on the learning aspects of the experience.” (DfES, 1996).

It is an important part of work related learning which allows students to learn about the world of work in a “real life” working situation.

Key things to think about before offering work experience

Consider whether you want to offer 'block' or 'extended' work experience

Block work experience is the scheme where students work with a placement provider for five or ten days consecutively. It is intended to give a student an experience of working life and the Key Skills needed in the workplace rather than a chance to try out an occupation they may want to follow. Within the limits of what is available, and the demands for very popular areas of work, the choice is made to benefit a student’s education, rather than for job sampling or recruitment purposes.

Placements in companies where a student already has experience through a parent/owner or existing part time job are not generally regarded as valid due to the fact that they do not add significantly to the student’s experience or learning and provide insufficient new challenge.

Extended work experience is the scheme where students work with a placement provider one or two days a week over a period of time. It is intended for students who wish to follow a particular occupation as part of their curriculum and usually leads to, or is part of, a vocational qualification. The school’s preparation programme for students will ask them to look at equal opportunities and stereotyping prior to making their choice of placement. All students, from those taking the fewest examinations to those who will take degrees, need real knowledge of the world of work.

You will be showcasing your company to a potential new employee. Ensure you talk to the student and consider the below:
  • What the student wants to achieve
  • Why the student wants to work in construction
  • What job roles the student wants to experience during their week
  • Have you properly briefed the student on what is required and your expectations
  • Have your employees been properly briefed to give the student a good experience of the workplace
  • Do you have the time to catch-up and review how the placement went with the student and your employees
How do I offer work experience?

To start the process of offering work experience, please contact Cornwall Education and Business Partnership.