The idea of giving young people/graduates the opportunity to get a taste of the world of employment can be an appealing one, for many reasons. Offering work experience roles can strengthen your reputation, give you an immense amount of satisfaction, and ensure that you’re playing your part in creating a skilled workforce for the future.
When you get down to the basics though, it can become tempting to ditch the idea completely. The process traditionally involves a ton of red tape and jumping through hoops, so however good your intentions, it can sometimes just seem like too much hassle.
Things are definitely changing though, and many businesses can see the value of creating opportunities for young people. Here, we explain what you need to know to make the work experience process work for your business.
Step outside the notion of a one-week placement
In years gone by, work experience would involve young people taking a week out of formal education to work a 9-5 role with a local employer. However these days, things are much more flexible.
Could you offer site visits to schools? Or a member of staff, offer mentoring? Or evening/weekend opportunities? Trying to think outside of the box could prove to be better for your business, and for the young people who you’ll be working with.
Think beyond making the tea and collecting the post
No one’s expecting you to hand over the running of your company, and throwing your placement right in at the deep end could prove to be overwhelming. Ease them in gently, but be sure to give them real opportunities and challenges to get their teeth stuck into during their time in your business.
Keep in mind that a young person can bring a fresh perspective to the table, as well as energy and enthusiasm. Don’t just give them the mundane and routine work as they might just stumble upon your next big business idea!
Draw up a plan
It makes sense to think about how your young person will spend their time when they’re in your business. Of course, they’ll need to know what hours they’re working and where they need to show up on the first day, but thinking a little wider than this can set you up for success.
How will their time be filled? Can they shadow various members of staff? Can they get involved in different projects? Is it possible to offer them an element of choice, so they can learn more about the areas they’re interested in? Be flexible, but be sure to have at least the bare bones of a plan.
Communication, communication, communication
Communication is always important in the workplace, and if you want to offer a successful placement, then it’s absolutely essential. Start by having an initial conversation with the school/University so you understand what they’re expecting.
On the very first day of the placement, arrange an informal chat with the young person so you can understand what they want to take away from the process. On the final day, provide them with feedback. And of course, invite them to share their own feedback about the experience. You could take away some really valuable insights into how your business is operating.
Have you any questions about how all of this could work for you? Maybe you’ve got unique challenges that you need to overcome, or you’d just like to chat with an HR Rev Consultant about getting your work placements right first time. Get in touch today.