Are you interested in hosting a work experience student at your workplace but not sure how to get the most out of it? Maybe you’ve had mixed success in hosting work experience previously and want to know how you could improve the experience for you as an employer and for the young person undertaking the work experience.
We’ve gathered together some of the top tips for employers in the Toowoomba region to help not only increase the benefits of work experience for everyone involved but also increase the number of local employers offering great work experience placements.
Benefits of work experience for employers
Work experience provides great opportunities for young people including giving them an insight into different careers, putting classroom theory into practice, plus increasing their confidence and employability skills. But what about benefits for employers?
As an employer you get to give young people an excellent introduction to the workforce, which has the following benefits for you:
- Low risk access to potential future job candidates
- Closer ties with schools which allows increased access to future jobseekers, plus potential opportunities for collaboration
- Give prospective job candidates insight into the skills needed to work with you
- Can provide opportunities for employees to develop their management skills by supervising and mentoring a young person
- Helps boost engagement with the local community and reduce Toowoomba’s high youth unemployment rate
- Work experience is unpaid and usually lasts for one week
- Placement arrangements are made through the school
Before Work Experience Begins
A little preparation can go a long way to ensure a better experience for both you and your work experience student.
First up have a chat with the school work experience coordinator. This is especially important if you’ve never hosted work experience students before. Some of the things you should find out are:
- What is expected of you during the placement including what you are expected to assess and report on
- What paperwork you need to complete
- What your obligations are as an employer
- What the insurance covers
- What the work experience program is trying to achieve
- Do they have any tips on how to get the most out of the placement
- Who to contact if they have questions or problems with their work experience placement.
Send A Welcome Email
For many young people, work experience is their first taste of the workforce, so being clear and outlining your expectations up front will get you off on the right foot.
Create a simple document you can reuse and give to work experience placements well before they start, welcoming them to your workplace and outlining important information including:
- Where to go on their first day
- Their work hours
- What they should wear
- Where they will be working – in the office, on a job site, travelling etc.
- The name and title of their supervisor
- Information on food, drinks and breaks such as: lunch is at 12pm to 12.30pm, there is a fridge and microwave they can use, there’s a food van that visits every day, or bring water and your lunch in an esky.
- Your contact details
- Any specific requirements you may have, such as: they’ll be provided with a locker, phones are to stay in their bag etc.
- If they need to undertake a safety induction or similar online beforehand or any other requirements you may have.
Creating a work plan
To get the most out of your work experience placement it’s important that you have a clear outline of what your students will do each day including the different work areas and jobs you have planned for them.
Get your employees involved in the process by asking what tasks they think could be undertaken by the work experience student and what employees could support and supervise the student.
Keep in mind when you’re creating a work plan that the tasks and experience you’re giving them should have purpose, be relevant and help them to think deeper about the career goals. Some of the best work experience placements involve trying a variety of roles and tasks in different areas of the business and working with various employees.
Once your work experience student arrives at your workplace, it’s important you give them the same induction you would a new employee. The main areas to cover in your induction include:
- An introduction to your business
- A tour of the facilities including where the first-aid, toilet and staff kitchen are
- Health and safety information including where the fire exits are
- What is expected of them
- A run through of their work plan so so they get insight into what they’ll do each day
- Introduction to the people they’ll be working with
The induction is also a great opportunity to get to know your student, understand their goals, interests, the subjects they are studying and previous work experience, plus allow your student to ask questions.
As the employer, you have primary responsibility for the health and safety of the student and need to manage any risks. Keep in mind that there are very few work activities that your work experience person cannot do due to health and safety law. If in doubt, ask the school.
Wrapping up work experience
Reviewing each work experience placement at the end is important for both you and your student. It is worthwhile finding out from your employees involved with the placement what worked well and what didn’t, so you can make changes where necessary.
For the students, getting effective feedback on their performance can be very valuable. The school should provide you with a form to fill out, so make sure you look at it before your student starts so that you know what areas you’re providing feedback on.
Promote Your Work Experience
Now that you know how to get the most out of your work experience placements, it’s time to promote them. First up, contact us with your information and we’ll add you to our work experience in Toowoomba page.
You can also promote your work experience on your website, social media pages and contact a few schools to let them know.
We hope this has helped you to get more out of your work experience placements in Toowoomba.