Many young people aspire to apprenticeships after school and there are numerous benefits of work experience to prepare them. Work experience programmes play a pivotal role in preparing them for this journey, offering insights into workplace behaviour, boundaries, and the expectations they’ll face. With practice comes confidence, making work experience an invaluable stepping stone to future success.
In this blog, we’ll delve into exactly what work experience is and uncover the range of benefits it offers the pupil, the employer, the school, and even the local newspaper.
What is Work Experience?
Most High Schools in the UK have developed links over several years with local businesses. They ask these businesses to give the children an idea of what it would be like to work for them for a few days or a week. This typically happens once a year at a fixed time in the school term when things are slightly quieter. This way, the pupils don’t miss anything important when they are out of school for that length of time.
Benefits of Work Experience for the Pupil
There are numerous benefits that work experience provides to the pupil. Let’s take a look in more detail:
Realistic Work Preview
The businesses try to give the school pupils a good taster of the kind of work that they will be expected to do if they join a company like theirs, either as an apprentice or an employee in the future. This is so that the pupils can get a feel for what working life might be like for them in this field. They are treated as much like any other employee as possible. The pupil should read up on how to find the right work experience in advance.
Understanding Workplace Culture
It is essential to understand what working life is like in practice before entering the workplace. This will give them a better idea of where the boundaries are when it comes to joking around and having fun. Some workplaces are stricter than others, and it will do the pupil good to get a feel for what a real workplace culture feels like.
Exploring Different Skills and Interests
Work experience offers pupils the chance to try various tasks and develop different skills. It can spark interest in particular fields, motivating them to pursue a career in areas they might not have considered previously. Work experiences showcase a variety of job opportunities beyond what exam results might suggest.
During work experience, pupils might find themselves in a mentoring relationship with senior management. This mentoring can be formal or informal, providing pupils with valuable guidance and a positive role model. Mentors might recognise potential in pupils and offer support to help them succeed.
Benefits of Work Experience for the Employer
As well as benefiting the pupil, work experience also offers a variety of benefits for the employer.
Building a Relationship
The company also has the chance to build a relationship with the pupil. If they are exceptional, they may even offer them an apprenticeship or a summer job so they have more time to evaluate and build their skills. Ultimately, some may choose to employ the pupil in a job role once they leave school.
Work experience gives the company a chance to assess the pupil’s potential as a malleable new recruit. Observing the pupil’s performance and skills during this period can help the company gauge their suitability for future roles.
Giving Back to the Community
Providing work experience opportunities to pupils from local schools allows the company to give back to the community. This positive involvement can enhance the company’s reputation and perception in the broader community.
Positive Public Perception
The local press may cover the company’s efforts to offer work experience to pupils, further boosting its public image. Additionally, the school’s newsletters, which reach parents, will mention the work experience placements and the companies involved. In turn, this will generate more positive coverage for the business.
Benefits of Work Experience for the Local Newspaper
The local newspaper can also benefit from work experience in the following ways:
Easy Publicity Opportunity
A good news story complete with photos will typically have been taken by the businesses involved, meaning little to no effort on their end. All they need are the names of the participants from the school, where they will be placed, some quick quotes from the businesses involved, and perhaps the class teacher.
Pupil Participation and Involvement
It is even better if a pupil is placed in the local newspaper. They may be asked to put together a news article on their visit, which will be printed in the newspaper next week. The local newspaper also knows that relatives of the young people will buy the newspaper just to see their relatives in it.
Positive Impact on Newspaper Circulation
This can be a welcome circulation boost when local newspapers everywhere are struggling for sales.
Benefits of Work Experience for the School
Finally, we’ll explore the benefits of work experience for the school the pupils attend.
School’s Objective and Work Experience Benefits
At the heart of the school’s mission lies a deep desire to see each of its pupils excel in life. Work experience proves to be an invaluable tool, offering unique learning opportunities that extend beyond the boundaries of traditional schooling. Through work experience, students gain valuable insights and practical skills that enrich their personal and professional growth.
Positive Impact on Pupils’ Behavior
On occasion, pupils have returned from work experience in a much less disruptive frame of mind. They have seen and understood the type of behaviour modelled by others that they will need to emulate to get to where they want to be in life.
Additional Resource – Work Experience Guide
We have put together a useful Work Experience Guide for Schools and Colleges that goes into further detail on this topic.
Future Apprenticeships and How to Find Them
If you have already read the reasons to start an apprenticeship, you should also read who can start an apprenticeship. Having some high-quality work experience can make it easier to pass an apprenticeship entrance interview. You will be able to talk about the actual work you have undertaken in a real workplace. As a result, this puts you ahead of many applicants.
To find an apprenticeship in your area today, use our dedicated apprenticeship jobs board to find a suitable vacancy.
Have a question? Feel free to get in touch with us. And finally, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter below for all the latest news and opportunities from Employing an Apprentice.