The build up to Work Experience

In almost a month’s time our corridors and classrooms will seem a little quieter as we send out our entire Year 10, almost 200 students, out into the world for two weeks work experience.

At this stage of the process it’s still a fluid, moving machine with some students still to organise placements, a lot of interviews to arrange and, I’m sure, a few last minute twists and turns to come.

To help prepare the students for the new and different world they are about to be submersed into for a fortnight we, alongside assemblies, essentially run three lessons for them.

  1. Employees rights & responsibilities

Tasks: The students are given a generic employee/employer contract and complete a question sheet about the contract. They are also presented with a number of scenarios about work problems and asked to make a judgement on the employee or the complaint and feedback to the class.

Aim of lesson: To encourage the students to contemplate the balance between their rights but also their responsibilities in the workplace and to be prepared for what is expected from their conduct.

  1. Health & Safety in the workplace

Tasks: The class watch a few “no win, no fee” adverts and discuss the issues around personal responsibility versus the right to work in a safe environment. In pairs they then complete a “5 steps to risk assessment” worksheet for the classroom and immediate area which will lead to some fairly mundane results. The class then watch

and go through exactly the same 5 step process to consider what has been down to limit the risks involved in such an event.

Finally the class look over and compare/contrast some actual risk assessments from placements from previous years.

Aim of lesson: To reinforce that, in some of the working environments the young people are about to enter, actions can have serious consequences and that risk is never eliminated, just reduced by sensible decisions.

  1. Last minute talk/Networking

Tasks: Teacher presents a bit of powerpoint with all of the last minute things students need to know; what to do if they are ill etc. Students are then given worksheets to help them define their current network of contacts who they could rely on for opportunities. Then, using or careersbox videos, they are shown a number of workers who achieved their job or career direction through such networks. Finally, using the example of the story of the twit-hiker, students are shown how large networks can have benefits.

Aim of lesson: After some practical stuff to get through, students are encouraged to consider how important networks can be and that success does not always come from a perfect track record of results but through building mutually beneficial relationships that aid career progression.

What I’m missing here is an employers take on this – a view from the receiving side of the fence about what they would like young people to be made aware of before they start their placements – and would appreciate any comments or input people have.


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