Delivering effective work experience placements
Work experience is a valuable opportunity for organisations and young people. It is easier now as you no longer need DBS checks to supervise 16-18 year olds, liability insurance mostly covers work experience students and employers can use risk assessments for existing young employees to cover placements.
Once you decide to set up a work experience scheme, you need to attract girls to apply. Once again, preparation is key.
Remember: it is discriminatory to offer work experience to girls only. It is recommended to take positive action to encourage more girls to apply and then take on the best people for your opportunities offered.
See the links to best practice guides on work placements.
We let schools know we are seeking diverse applicants.
When connecting with schools local to you or your sites where you wish to host students, ensure that you emphasise any diversity criteria you have. You may say you are seeking more girls and you require 50/50 gender split for your activities.
We look for opportunities to broaden our reach.
When advertising work experience placements consider working with Local Enterprise Partnerships, local colleges, religious groups, guiding, sports clubs, science clubs, youth clubs to reach girls.
We access the support of and work with other organisations to meet our diversity targets.
There are numerous organisations who can offer support for employers interested in setting up work experience placements and to help them find students who are interested:
In advance of the placement: We have prepared a welcome pack for students.
- Prior to the start of the work experience send students a welcome pack outlining all the information they will need to know before their first day.
- Include start times, dress codes, directions, how to get there and a named contact.
We have included information for parents.
- Research has shown that parents, particularly mothers, are large influencers on their daughters’ career choice. By providing information about your company, the experience and your sector, you can help get them on board.
- Tomorrow’s Engineers recommends including information such as job prospects, average salary, opportunities for travel and professional registration, availability for flexible working in the future, and the positive impact a career in STEM has on society.
- Provide parents with information on the different routes into STEM careers.
- Case studies of your successful female role models are useful. Do use the People Like Me examples and the marketing techniques to ensure you use the images and language that will appeal to girls.
We have prepared our team.
- It is important to ensure the employees in the work placement environment are all on board and understand why the company is doing this. Do explain why it is important to encourage women to apply, what your expectations are of the team and how they can help. This will offer a supportive and more effective environment for the placement opportunity.
- All employees working with the girls, trainers and role models should have the opportunity to make themselves aware of the WISE People Like Me findings so that they can make the most of the opportunity with the girls and ensure that they are using the correct language and the best approach.
Our placement includes an induction, a structured itinerary, a point of contact and the chance to individual discuss their career aspirations with us.
- An induction
- A structured itinerary
- Each student should have a defined point of contact.
It should also include a chance for the student to individually talk through their career aspirations with you.
We encourage girls to realise how subject choice can open doors to rewarding STEM careers.
This is your opportunity to advise the girls about how their subject choices and extracurricular activities relate to a career in STEM and the wide range of opportunities available to them across the sectors.
We encourage girls to see the benefits of continuing with STEM subjects post 16.
All students are required to take maths and science at GCSE, however WISE statistics shows a dramatic drop off in the number of girls taking STEM past this point.
It is essential that you explain to girls that continuing Science and Maths subjects post 16 will offer them much wider, and more rewarding, career opportunities. You may need to help build their confidence in their ability to achieve in subjects which are often perceived as difficult and a male preserve.
We have addressed the misconceptions around apprenticeships.
- Showcase a wide range of successful apprentices who have progressed into rewarding careers.
- Identify a range of careers with professional status accessed through the apprenticeship route, and discuss technical/professional registration.
- Discuss progression opportunities to graduate level, and into management.
- Make comparisons which show that the apprenticeship pathway leads to the same professional outcomes as the A level/graduate route.
We have provided clear information about the ‘next steps’.
Provide clear information and support on the next step:
- Application for apprenticeship.
- Informal interview.
- Further interventions and support.
Provide a named contact for follow up.
- Obtain approval to include students’ data in a database for follow up and future events.
- Ask the student if they need anything else or if there is anything that might help them. Follow up on it.