As summer approaches and the holidays begin, businesses have no doubt seen an increase in the requests for work experience from students of all ages. Whether you agree to taking on someone for a week, or a couple of months, it can be a big commitment for a business and this often puts companies off from participating.
However the benefits of having a work experience student can be huge and long lasting for an organisation, and some are missing out not realising the advantages they can bring.
We’ve put together what we think are the top benefits of regularly offering work experience placements and how you can get involved.
Having an extra person on board for a couple of months, or just a week or two will help to increase your team’s productivity. Although you will spend some time mentoring them, they can also complete work or projects that your team simply don’t have the time to do. Whether it’s a one off live project or research on your competitors to help you get ahead of the game, students can produce some efficient and effective pieces of work to help your business going forward.
Students often bring with them a fresh perspective and a different viewpoint on how things could work. Their renewed energy and alternative opinion, along with up-to-date theoretical knowledge, could be just the thing your business is looking for. If nothing else, it will give you and your staff the chance to think about things differently and perhaps trial some new ideas to keep your business productive and profitable.
Taking on a work experience student from a local school, college or university is a great way to build relationships with key establishments. Having strong links with relevant education and training providers means your business is more likely to be well known with students who are getting ready to join the world of work and if you have a reputation for progressing and employing new graduates, you could be at the top of their list to talk to.
Build on your existing staff’s skills
Having someone carrying out work experience at your workplace can give your existing staff a chance to develop their own skills. Supervising a student, providing them with tasks and mentoring them throughout their placement can improve staff’s leadership and management skills and give them a chance to flourish in areas which they may not have tried before. It could also give you an insight into which staff members you can develop and upskill to become your future managers and contribute to the succession plan for your business.
Help with recruitment
Long term, getting involved with offering work experience placements is great for your company’s brand and your industry’s recruitment strategy. If the experience is positive, students are more likely to consider similar roles in the future and rave about it to their peers. You may even give someone an insight into an industry that they have never considered before. It could also help your own recruitment, with some businesses taking on students who have previously completed work experience with them – a cost effective way of recruiting a committed member of staff.
Inspired to get involved but don’t know where to start? Why not get in touch with the Skills team and pledge your support to the future workforce. Our Employability Coordinator, Julia Gurr, can connect you with suitable work experience candidates and also offer you the chance to share your knowledge and industry expertise. Find out more here.