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By working together with the College, employers can help young people transition from education into the world of work and develop the next generation of work ready employees for their specific industry.

What is a work experience placement?

The term work experience refers to a specified period of time that a person spends with your business, during which they have an opportunity to learn directly about working life and the work environment.

Some work experience positions offer the chance for an individual to try particular tasks, while others provide the opportunity to watch and learn first-hand. The nature and length of the work experience can vary, but these arrangements can be agreed in advance with you, the employer, and the work experience student via the College.

Why is work experience important?

Work experience is vitally important for both young people and employers. The experience can help both make an informed decision about the future. The more first-hand knowledge and experience a young person is able to gain about a job role, the work environment and what is expected of them in the workplace, the more successful they will be in finding employment and fitting into their new role in the business. Equally, work experience can provide a business with a potential pipeline of new talent, the chance to ‘try before they buy’ and the reassurance that a potential new recruit has already gained some understanding of the work environment either through experience with them or another organisation.

Are work experience students paid?

There is no legal requirement for you to pay a student on work experience in your workplace as they are there to learn as part of a continuing programme of study. In some cases, however, employers do offer to contribute to travel expenses, pay for lunches or extend an employee benefit to the student.

What are the benefits of work experience to you the employer?

Work experience offers the following benefits for employers:

  • raise the profile of your business, particularly in terms of recruiting new talent
  • gain additional help at no extra cost
  • access new talent
  • boost morale of a current employees who can pass on their knowledge and experience to a work experience student
  • inject fresh ideas and energy into your business as students offer different perspectives and knowledge of the latest techniques and technologies
  • provides the opportunity for a current employee to mentor a young person and develop their own supervisory skills
  • raise the reputation of your business among young people (who may be future customers)
  • it is a great way to recruit and ‘try before you buy’ (some employers have offered students a permanent role, such as an apprenticeship on completion of their course or a part-time job whilst studying)
  • helps promote your entire industry as a career option and address sector skills shortages
  • improves your community engagement, which can lead to enhanced reputation and brand loyalty.

What are the benefits of work experience for a young person?

Work experience offers the following benefits for young people:

  • enables them to develop vital employability skills
  • provides an insight into the real work environment
  • builds confidence
  • increases their knowledge of a job role or industry and the skills it requires
  • increases their chance of finding employment on completion of their course
  • improves their communication skills, particularly in dealing with people of all ages
  • helps them build their CV
  • helps them understand how the skills they are learning in college relate to the workplace.

What are your responsibilities as an employer?

Taking on a young person for work experience in your organisation can be a straightforward process. Indeed, working with the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, we can advise you and endeavour to make the process as easy as possible for you.

Health & Safety: As with all staff, you will need to comply with all current Health and Safety Legislation. There are very few work activities a work experience student cannot do due to health and safety law. However, it is important to remember that you have primary responsibility for the health and safety of the student while they are in your workplace and you should manage any significant risks. For further advice on health and safety, you can visit www.hse.gov.uk/youngpeople/workexperience/placeprovide.htm

Insurance: Individuals on work experience should be covered by your existing Employer’s Liability Insurance and Public Liability Insurance, provided your insurer is a member of the Association of British Insurers. However, it is advisable that you inform your insurer that a work experience student will be on the premises and the dates.

Hours: In terms of working hours and conditions, start and finish times are not restricted to college hours, but must be agreed beforehand by all. A working day should be a maximum of 8 hours and a minimum half an hour break should be allowed after a 4.5 hour working period.

Guidance: A work experience student will need support and guidance during their placement, so you will need to ensure adequate supervision or monitoring is in place. It is good practice to allocate one or two employees to act as a mentor(s) for the student.

Induction: A work experience student should receive an induction to the workplace on their first day to help them understand the work environment, how it functions, what is expected of them and who are the key personnel as well as providing a chance for them to ask questions.

Variety: It is important to give the young person a variety of tasks throughout their placement with you and, if possible, provide them with a chance to rotate around different departments. This will enable them to gain a good overview of how the organisation works and the different functions.

How long does a work placement last?

The length of the work experience placement can vary according to the student’s programme. Our Work Experience Team will work with you to identify the duration of the placement to ensure it works for both you and the student.

What happens at the end of the work placement?

At the end of the placement, you should meet with your work experience student to review how everything went and provide feedback.

Why work with us?

At Windsor Forest Colleges Group, we support the employer as well as the student, to maximise the benefits of a work experience programme for both parties. We have over 40 years of experience working with SMEs and multinationals in a wide range of industries and take great care in matching the right individual to your business.

We have an excellent reputation for delivering high quality vocational training courses, so in the majority of cases the students we place on work experience will be learning skills directly relevant to your business or industry.

We have over 8,000 students studying across more than 800 courses, from engineering, construction and IT to catering, hairdressing and creative arts. Our courses start from beginner level right through to Higher Education (Level 4/5) and we offer state-of-the-art learning facilities at our three college campuses: Langley College, Strode’s College and Windsor College.

We offer:

  • a dedicated work experience team who understand the
  • needs of businesses
  • a work experience co-ordinator to support employers and work experience students
  • a workplace assessment
  • industry experts within the College
  • access to a pool of future talent and potential new recruits
  • a student and employer matching service.

What is the next step?

If you think you could offer a work experience opportunity to one (or more) of our students or would simply like to find out more, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01753 793000 and ask to speak to our Work Experience Team.

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