The Value Of Work Experience

Around this time of year, students who are mid A Level courses are likely to be offered a chance to get some work experience. This is usually a week’s placement with a company or organisation who may well have an established relationship of this kind with the school.

The question might be whether this going to be beneficial or a waste of time for your child? In answering that it might be best to consider what ‘work experience’ actually means in this context. What it is unlikely to be is a weeklong ‘job’ since one week is hardly enough time to learn any job let alone carry it out. So it’s more likely to be a week in a working environment but spending time with a number of different people in various departments. There is not likely to be much job content in terms of ‘doing work’ but there is a lot of opportunity to observe and understand what people do and how an organisation works.

Most students, unless they have a job outside of school, will have little idea of what happens in the outside world when one goes out to work. This brief exposure to the workaday world can be a valuable insight into that.  If the organisation takes the time and trouble to ensure that the week is varied and interesting then it will be helpful to your child. The school will usually try to ensure that the student goes to an organisation that is in line with their interests or ambitions. This in itself may help consolidate those ambitions in the student’s mind, in a positive or even negative way. It may be that after seeing it for themselves they may not want to do that kind of profession after all.

The week will most likely be at the same hours as school hours and you, as the parent, will be required to get them to and from the organisation every day or at least arrange that they can. You will need to sign consent forms and fill in information about any medical or other things that the organisation will need to know. You should expect that the organisation will observe proper health and safety rules while your child is in their care.

Find out what you can about the organisation and the placement for yourself, so that you are reassured that it’s the right thing and that your child will be safe and get something out of the experience. Convey to your child also that what they put into it they will get out of it, so if they approach it with an open positive frame of mind then it will be a good experience for them. Make sure it is also something they really want to do and they have not simply been coerced or persuaded into it.

Overall, I would contend that Work Experience can only be valuable and a good chance for your child to see the outside world in action.

Do you have any questions about education? If so, you’ll find the EQ Knowledge Bank a valuable resource. It’s a library of articles, each one aimed at answering a specific question asked by parents. And it doesn’t just cover education – you’ll also find plenty of advice, tips and guidance on parenting issues such as promoting self-confidence in your child, protecting them from bullies and keeping them safe online. It’s well worth a look.

Guest Blog by David Evans Bailey

David Evans Bailey has an MA in Digital Media Art. He taught ICT and Photography at Secondary School level for several years as well as being involved in many theatrical and other endeavours. His background is an IT professional.

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