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Council Services:

General Information

What is work experience?

Work experience is a government scheme which is described as “a placement on an employer’s premises in which a pupil carries out a particular task or duty, more or less as would an employee, but with an emphasis on the learning aspects of the experience.” (DfES, 1996). The experience involves taking on the role of a young worker and engaging in work tasks, using and developing work skills, being involved in work processes and experiencing work environments. It is an important part of work related learning which allows students to learn about the world of work in a “real life” working situation.

“Extended” work experience is the scheme where students work with a placement provider one or two days a week over a period of time. It is intended for students who wish to follow a particular occupation as part of their curriculum and usually leads to, or is part of, a vocational qualification. All students, from those taking the fewest examinations to those who will take degrees, need real knowledge of the world of work.

Students eligible to take part in work experience

Students who are in the last 2 years of compulsory schooling can take part in Work Experience.

How arrangements are made by schools

Each School or Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) has a Work Experience Co-ordinator who is responsible for overseeing any Work Experience programmes in the school or centre.

Students are asked to find their own placements with help from the teachers/parents where needed. If they cannot find a placement a referral form can still be completed for the Council’s Extended Work experience Officer, so that they can find a placement for the pupil. Once a company is known to be willing to take a student the company will receive a placement suitability visit. Parents, Employers and Students are then asked to complete the approval and consent form  which indicates that all parties agree with the arrangements.

Out of county work placements

If a student wishes to undertake work experience out of the county then parents/guardians are responsible for making the appropriate arrangements for travel and accommodation. There could be problems with obtaining a placement suitability visit in these cases and the Work Experience Co-ordinator should be the first point of contact if information on this is required.

What students should do whilst on work experience

As far as possible students should undertake real tasks to give them an idea of the work carried out by the employer. They should learn how the company is organised. Some students may observe the more complicated parts of running a company and should gain an understanding of how enterprise, creativity and innovation help business growth. A programme should be organised for the student, and employers should monitor what the student has achieved. Every student will have a work experience logbook in which they have an action plan and can record progress. The employer could help by making sure the students complete it and should complete the “Employer Report on the Student” section for the student at the end of the placement.

Role of the Parents/Guardians

Parents/guardians can offer valuable support in finding placements. Their written consent is needed before a placement can begin. They will have information about the arrangements, and will know how to contact the school if their son or daughter reports a problem to them about their placement. They will be asked to provide essential medical information relevant to the health, safety and welfare of their son or daughter whilst on a work placement.

Legislation affecting work experience

Insurance arrangements

There are 6 principal areas of risk that may arise in the course of work experience:-

  • Injury to students themselves;
  • Injury to others on the premises;
  • Injury to others not on the premises;
  • Damage to or loss of employers’ property;
  • Damage to or loss of other property;
  • Damage to or loss of an employee’s property.

The Association of British Insurers, The British Insurance and Investment Brokers Association and Lloyds of London have agreed to regard work experience students on a placement as “employees” solely for the purposes of work experience. All placement providers must have Public Liability and Employers Liability Insurance. For “sole-traders” who do not have Employer Liability insurance, the employer will need to contact their Public Liability insurer to see if they will indemnify the student for employers liability as a volunteer. The employer’s insurance company must be informed of the employer’s intention to take on a work experience student. Where a student will be travelling in a vehicle for the purposes of work the vehicle insurance must cover them.

Where a “liability” can be demonstrated then:-

Injuries caused to others on the premises, others not on the premises, damage to others property and damage to an employee’s property should normally be covered by the employer’s Public Liability Insurance policy.

Damage to the employer’s own property should normally be covered by the employer’s material damage policy.

Injuries to the student whilst on work experience will be covered by the employer’s Employers Liability Insurance policy.

Students must be briefed that if they cause injury or damage through a deliberate act they will not be indemnified by insurance and may be required to meet the cost of any compensation the Courts may award.

Limits on the jobs students can do on work experience

The Education Act 1996, Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and local bye-laws place limitations on the type of work which students can undertake on work experience due to age or the nature of the work. Employers involved in these occupations will be aware of these restrictions.

Hours of work

The Working Time Regulations 1998 and 1999 apply to students on work experience however, the number and pattern of hours worked is normally agreed by the placement provider, parents, school and the student. If possible, normal hours should be worked, but students are not allowed to work outside any hours specified by legislation. Where a placement involves shift work and the student wants to undertake one night shift, as part of their experience, this can be allowed but must be agreed by the parents and the employer and must not exceed the legal maximum.

Pay, tax and national insurance

Students on Work Experience have the status of an “employee” for legal and insurance purposes but must not receive payment for the work they do.

Employers can assist with travelling expenses or lunch costs if they wish.

The Health and Safety aspects of work experience

Placement suitability visits

Work Experience Organisers (Schools and PRU’s) have a duty to assess the ability of a work experience placement provider to provide for a student’s health, safety and welfare whilst on work experience. At present the Council provides this service for schools and a representative of the Council will make a visit to each placement provider over a period of time to discuss health, safety, welfare and other related issues in order to assess their ability to cater for the health, safety and welfare of a student on work experience.

Specific risk assessment for young workers

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to undertake a Risk Assessment. Employers need to inform students of their main duties and tasks, the type of work, any associated specific risks and their control measures and remind the students of their responsibilities whilst on a work placement. Parents/guardians will also have to be told of these risks and control measures. There is a space on the Employers’ Section of the approval and consent form which this information can be provided.

Similarly, any particular hazards associated with the work area and the work to be done must be explained and the importance of following safe working practices emphasised. Appropriate safety equipment and protective clothing must be available where appropriate.

It is in everyone’s interest that the employer ensures adequate supervision throughout the placement. Supervisors should be aware of the purpose of work experience, have a good knowledge of Health and Safety and know something about the young person working with them.

An employer’s Health and Safety induction

The main responsibility for the Health and Safety of the student whilst on Work Experience lies with the employer. The employer will need to reinforce Health & Safety responsibilities at the very start of their placement through their Induction Process. Fire, First Aid and Accident Reporting procedures must be explained as will other policies that relate to safe working.

Lunch and break periods

Parents should discuss the arrangements for lunch and break periods with their son/daughter and make sure they are suitable. Where a student is to stay on the placement premises then the employer has a duty of care as for any employee. If a student leaves the employer’s premises during lunch or break periods, no liability can be accepted by the employer or the school for any incident that may occur.

Reporting of accidents, incidents and dangerous occurrences

It is the responsibility of the employer to report any accidents, incidents or dangerous occurrences that occur on site following their normal procedures for such reporting covered by the RIDDOR 1995 Regulations. The employer must report any such accidents or occurrences to the Headteacher or Work Experience Co-ordinator of the school and the student’s emergency contact person whose telephone number will be on the Approval and Consent Form and in the student’s Work Experience Logbook.

The approval and consent form

The Approval and Consent Form, which is issued by the school, is the means by which all the partners (student, parent and employer) involved can officially approve the activities and conditions concerning the work placement by signing their consent. A work placement cannot go ahead without this form being fully completed and returned to the school prior to the student starting the placement. This form provides essential medical information and a section to note specific risks and their control measures as well as outlining the responsibilities of each partner.

Essential medical information on students

Each student’s health should be considered before a placement is chosen; for example, someone with asthma would avoid dusty places. If a student is on medication the employer must be informed.

Parents/guardians will be asked to provide essential medical information on the approval and consent form (see section 16) which may affect the safety and welfare of their son or daughter whilst on a placement.

Data Protection Act

The information provided on the approval and consent form may be stored manually or electronically and will be used for the purposes of education particularly for the Work Experience Scheme and used by employers, parents/guardians and the Council for Health and Safety reasons. Employers and parents/guardians will be asked to give consent for this to happen.

Teacher visits to placement providers

The Council’s work experience scheme requires the school staff to make a teacher visit to the employer during the placement in order to talk to both the student and their supervisor to monitor and review the progress of the student. Where a visit is deemed not to be “reasonably practicable” e.g. out of county, the school will contact the employer and student and complete a report.

Child Protection Issues

Schools will have given consideration to preparing students to deal with and report incidents that they feel uncomfortable with during their work placement. Employers should take account of child protection issues under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000. It is essential that no employee who has been disqualified from working with children comes in contact with a student on a work placement. If the work placement is a “long term” extended placement i.e. over one term the employer and the school involved must make sure that the provisions for child protection are suitable and conform to the guidance provided by the DfES outlined in “Safeguarding Children in Education”

Who to contact at the School/PRU if there is a problem

Each School/PRU has a work experience Co-ordinator who can be contacted at any time during the work placement.

Parents/Guardians and Employers should be given the name of the work experience Co-ordinator and their contact telephone number prior to the work placement taking place in the school’s own Information Letter which should accompany this Information Leaflet.

Contact Education Service

Education Service
Department of Lifelong Learning
Council Offices
LL77 7TW
> Main reception: (01248) 750 057
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Last update: 26 August 2014 Give feedback on this page
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