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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.

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.

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.

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:

  • 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.
This information will help make girls feel comfortable before they arrive at unfamiliar site and make the experience less intimidating.
  • 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 recommend visibly reaffirming your commitment to supporting girls and to creating an inclusive workplace to reassure parents that their daughters will be safe and happy working with you.

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.
Next Checklist: Setting up a role model network

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