How to get the most out of work experience placements

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The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have published a guide entitled “Work Experience Placements that Work” (available here). Here are their top ten tips to ensure that work experience placements have positive outcomes for the employer, the young person and society –
  1. The placement should be tailored to the young person’s individual needs and circumstances, including finding out what the young person wants to get out of the placement, which skills they want to develop, what barriers they face and what their career aspirations are.
  2. There should be clarity about the role that the young person plays in the Company and how they will be supported, supervised and mentored.
  3. Make sure the young person’s expectations are managed so that they know what they can contribute, whether there are any possibilities of job opportunities and help them to build their CV.
  4. Treat them as active member of staff but do not use work experience placements to fill a vacancy.
  5. Introduce the young person to the structure of working life – help them to learn and develop transferable skills, personal qualities and competencies which will help contribute towards their employability.
  6. Celebrate success and make sure that they leave having had an enjoyable and positive work experience which has increased their confidence in their own abilities.
  7. Encourage the young person to relate their experience and skills to the workplace, giving open and honest feedback about what went well and what needs to be improved with advice where possible on how to do this.
  8. Tell the young person that you expect them to show an interest in the Company and the industry in which you work, make the most of the opportunity, demonstrate a willingness to learn, respect the values of the Company and abide by the rules.
  9. Nominate an employee to work closely with the young person to make sure they make the most of the placement in finding out what sorts of different employment options are available and how to access them and support them in building a network of contacts.
  10. Be committed to an integrated approach to working with, investing in, recruiting and developing young people.

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