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My name is Mrs Winfield and I coordinate the Work Experience programme at both Harris Academy Upper Norwood and Harris Academy South Norwood. A year long process preparing our students for the world of work. Skills for life: life skills.
What is Work Experience?
Work experience is about learning new skills and new ideas to do with the world of work. It is time spent in a working environment.
The principle intention of Work Experience is to introduce students to and increase their knowledge of the world of work. The benefits and the emphasis are on students recognising and having the opportunity to develop and use Key Skills, identified by employers as being the most valuable in all areas of employment:
- Basic numeracy,
- Problem solving,
- Business and customer awareness
- Personal development and self-management.
It also encourages students to consider roles and responsibilities at work and increases students’ understanding of making applications for employment post education.
We would expect the work to be meaningful and purposeful. A two week experience placement would probably contain some observation, learning and carrying out a variety of tasks involving increasing responsibility. Allowing students to gain a clear understanding of expectations in the work place.
The work experience placement with the employer and their staff is extremely important to the Academy and to the student, with its emphasis on the world of work, the ability of the student to organise themselves well and fit into the working environment; this is part of our Work Related Learning Programme.
A Year long process
The process at both Academies starts early in the academic year - November. Meetings are arranged for both parents/carers and students to attend, followed shortly after by an assembly for all Year 10 students. There will also be Tutor time activities throughout the course of the year.
The event outlines the key features of our Careers Education & Work Related Learning Programme. It further outlines that all Year 10 students, will have the opportunity to participate in a two week Work Experience Placement from Monday 6th July to Thursday 16th July. It is vital to ensure that students and parents / carers are fully informed about and prepared for what lies ahead over the next few months leading up to Work Experience placements.
What are employers looking for?
Most employers are interested in student’s general skills and qualities such as:
- The ability to use their initiative, organise and manage themselves well
- The ability to get on with people, to work as part of a team and to communicate well with others; verbally as well as non verbally.
- The ability and willingness to learn new things.
- The ability to be enthusiastic, hardworking and loyal.
- A positive attitude and a keenness to learn are also paramount in the world of work
Who finds the placement?
It is the responsibility of the student, with the help of their parent/carer, to find their own work experience placement. Help, advice, encouragement and support will be given to guide the student toward finding a placement but the Academy does not find placements.
It is important that students go to a placement that they are interested in, however, it is better not to restrict themselves to just one job that they think they might like in the future.
It is suggested that students should start to research a placement for themselves as early as possible, asking family, friends, or neighbours particularly in specialist areas where students would perhaps like to participate in a placement. The internet is a good place to start. During tutor time students will be shown how to write a letter applying for a work experience placement and how to compile a CV.
All employers are asked to complete a “Work Experience Agreement Form” if they are able to offer students a placement. It is essential that employers have Employers Liability Insurance before any Academy student will be allowed to participate in any placement at the location.
Work Experience Agreement Forms are downloadable from this site, copies can also be obtained from M025, SIC or from Mrs Winfield. The deadline for submission of all completed, signed agreement forms is 17th April 2015.
Will my child be safe at the placement?
All employers are asked to undertake a health & safety risk assessment when completing the Work Experience Agreement Form, all placements are then assessed at the Academies as to their level of risk. If a placement is deemed high risk a pre-placement visit will take place to check on the level of risk. The employer will ensure that the student is not required to operate any hazardous machine, not to work in any hazardous environment, or to carry out work of any unsuitable nature. The student will only undertake duties to which the completed Risk Assessment relates. The employer will supply any specialist protective clothing required by the student whilst performing their work, students must wear any protective clothing or equipment supplied by the employer. Teachers and support staff will undertake visits during the two week placement.
Students will only be allowed to operate non-hazardous machinery, where there is a low level of risk with appropriate supervision from the employer.
Students will be given Health & Safety in the work place briefings at the Academy prior to their placements but there is also an obligation for the student to take responsibility for their own Health & Safety in the work place.
Should you need any support or further information regarding Work Experience please do not hesitate to contact me via email at the academy.