Work placements are an integral part of our students’ courses, giving them hands-on, real life experience of working in their chosen field and the opportunity to put the skills and knowledge they’ve been learning in the classroom into practice in the workplace and learn on-the-job from experienced industry employees.
They will be eager and willing to show you what they know, demonstrate how they can use their skills to complete any tasks they are given, and keen to learn more about what working in the industry is really like.
Our students have benefitted from work placements in a wide range of companies –including small local businesses, public sector bodies and multi-national organisations – but, whatever size the company, each placement offers a real-life insight into working in the relevant industry.
Read on to find out more about the types of work experience available and how your organisation can benefit, and the support you’ll get from the college throughout the placement.
All full time students, aged 16-18, are required to complete 30 hours of work experience during the academic year as an integral part of their course.
The placement should be meaningful to each individual student’s course – eg if studying for an automotive qualification their placement should be in an appropriate setting.
Placements for students on non-vocational courses – such as A Levels or ESOL – should, where possible, be in the sector or organisation that they wish to work in after completing their qualification
The placement should be organised around students’ study hours and they should provide their tutor with details at least six weeks before the placement starts.
Students are not expected to be paid during their placement.
At a glance…
- Mandatory for all students aged 16-18 on full-time courses
- 30 hours minimum
- Completed in a block or flexible over a period of time
Industrial placements are for minimum of 45 days (315 hours) and enable students to build on what they have learnt in the classroom, further develop their technical skills and apply their knowledge in a workplace setting
Students are not paid whilst on placement, however funding is available towards equipment, travel and subsistence costs that may be incurred during the placement.
Funding available to cover employer expenses
At a glance…
- 45 days/315 hours minimum
- More hands-on experience
- Funding available for students and employers
Virtual work experience offers an opportunity for students to gain an insight into working environments, and for employers to benefit from their skills and knowledge, without physically attending the workplace.
Options for employers include:
- Hosting online sessions to give students an overview of the business and what a typical working day entails
- Setting a workplace challenge and giving students a series of work-related tasks that they can complete on their own before presenting their findings and suggestions in an online feedback meeting.
- Providing a standard work experience remotely – students complete tasks virtually that they would usually do in the workplace – eg data entry or research for the employer
Traineeships are education and training programmes to help young people develop the skills and experience needed to progress to an apprenticeship or paid employment.
The programme covers English and maths, as well as preparation for work – such as communication, team work, time management and professionalism – and a work experience placement.
Financial incentives are available to employers offering traineeships
At a glance…
- 70-240 hours work placement
- Employability skills
- Progression to an apprenticeship or paid employment
- Funding available for employers
Supported internships are for young people aged 16-24 with a statement of SEND, or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
The structured programme aims to equip students with the skills they need for future paid employment, by learning on-the-job in the workplace.
The programme is for a minimum of six months and students will primarily be based in the worplace, but will also attend college to further their learning and develop their knowledge and understanding.
At a glance…
- For students with a SEND or EHCP
- Six month placement
- Preparation for paid employment on completion of the placement
Find out more about Supported Internships here
Benefits to employers
It’s not just students who benefit from work experience placements!
From helping with recruitment, supporting existing staff and supporting the local community, placements can be hugely beneficial for employers and organisations too.
The college has had really positive feedback about work experience from a wide range of employers and some have been so impressed with their placement students that they have offered them an apprenticeship or paid employment with the company on completion of their qualification.
Take a look at the benefits work experience placements can bring to your company
A solution for entry level jobs:
- Work placements are an ideal solution for entry-level skills and can enable you to build a pipeline of talent for junior positions or apprenticeships
Cost-effective channel for recruitment:
- Avoid many of the costs associated with recruitment by working with the college to connect with young people who are deciding on their careers
Develop young people into your industry:
- Placements give the opportunity to work with the next generation of employees at the start of their careers, making sure they develop the knowledge, attitude and practical skills to succeed in your industry.
Develop management and mentoring skills
- Placements create opportunities for staff to act as buddies, coaches or line managers to students. This helps existing staff gain management and mentorship skills, both of which are known to increase job satisfaction.
A fresh perspective
- For smaller businesses, young people can be an invaluable source of new, up-to-date and interesting ideas that can change the way you think about doing business.
Extra help with projects
- In an environment where staff are doing multiple roles and struggling to meet deadlines, an industry placement student can help support the team with key projects or pieces of work.
Industry placements create opportunities for a wide range range of 16- 19-year-olds which, in turn, can help the business better understand its customers, create better performing teams and increase innovation and creativity
Create shared value in the community
- Industry placements help create ‘shared value’ – a way of giving back that benefits the young people in the local community, as well as the business.
Enhanced brand image and profile
- A commitment to industry placements raises the organisation’s profile, locally and nationally, especially as new T Level qualifications gain more public exposure with customers and clients.
Support from the college
To ensure students, employers and the wider organisation all benefit from the work experience placement, staff from the college will ensure that all parties are prepared and supported throughout the process.
The safety and wellbeing of our students is of utmost importance, both during their time in college and whilst they are on work experience placements.
Accordingly, prior to placements, the college will ensure that the company complies with all relevant health and safety and safeguarding regulations and will provide a work experience handbook covering what is required by the employer including student induction, placement activities, and key contacts at the college.
Students will be prepared for work experience during lessons and develop important employability skills – such as timekeeping, communication, appearance and organising travel – so that they will be an asset to the company during their placement.
Staff from the college will be in regular contact with employers and students during their placements and, where possible, a work experience co-ordinator will visit the workplace to monitor progress and discuss any concerns that the student or employer may have.
After the placement is completed, we are always keen to hear your feedback on the successes of the places and how we could improve in the future.
And, if you want to offer your student an apprenticeship when they’ve completed their qualification, the college’s apprenticeship team will be able to assist you in identifying the most suitable qualification, setting up the training and advising on funding opportunities available.
Meet the team here
If you would like to be part of a group of employers who want to inspire young people, maximise their learning opportunities, discover new talent and raise the profile of the company to the next generation of employees, we’d love to hear from you.