The benefits of work experience for students may be clear, but how exactly can your business benefit from taking part in a work experience programme?
Are you a business owner? Or do you work for a company that could take on a work experience student?
Find out here what it can do for your productivity, staff training and your industry as a whole. Plus, read our tips on making the most of the opportunity.
It gives you the chance to shape the future of your industry
Offering work experience allows you to inspire and influence the future leaders of your industry, and at the same time you’ll enhance the reputation of your company in the industry and the local community, and do your bit for society and the economy.
Offering work experience can be used as a low-cost recruitment channel
If you’re on the hunt for fresh talent, offering work experience is a relatively inexpensive way to discover newly, and soon-to-be qualified graduates from your former college. You’re not obligated to hire the students you take-on for work experience, but it’s a great chance for you to get to know the young people entering your industry (and there’s also a great chance you’ll find someone who’s a great fit for your team).
Work experience students can be a welcome extra pair of hands
Our students know that their work experience is a vital opportunity to get to know the world of work and kick-start their careers, so they’ll be eager to learn and help out with meaningful tasks that you and your fellow employees don’t always have time to do.
Your staff can benefit from management experience
Supervising a work experience student is a brilliant opportunity for your current employees to develop their management skills, especially if you don’t have the resources for a formal line management training programme.
Tips for getting the most out of offering work experience – why you should create an activity plan
Find meaningful tasks
Neither the business nor the student really benefits if their work experience placement involves making coffee and endless photocopies. If you take the time to make an activity plan of non-urgent tasks that are valuable to you, that the student can take ownership of, everyone wins. Choose tasks that will really benefit the business, but normally get cast aside in favour of more urgent tasks, such as:
- Competitor research (which the student can then present to the team)
- Creating a social media calendar or blogging calendar
- Designing and conducting customer satisfaction surveys
- Researching and brainstorming ideas for business development
Take the time to understand their interests before they start
Learn about what they really want to get out of the experience then give them the chance to work in lots of different aspects of the business, completing projects that engage them and give them something to be proud of. They’ll work harder and you could even get a fresh perspective on your business too.
Creating a thorough activity plan means you have to spend less time monitoring them. It also gives them a sense of independence and shows them you trust them to get the work done. However, rather than giving them their tasks at the start of the placement and forgetting about them, give them deadlines and a schedule they need to keep to, just like normal job. Involve them in the day-to-day goings on, invite them to attend important team meetings, and schedule regular, shorter catch-ups where they can fill you in on their progress so far.