Supported work experience process
Last reviewed on 28 May 2019
There are a number of things that need to be done before, during and after any supported work experience placement – these are set out below.
When someone asks for supported work experience, ask them to complete the work experience application form (below). This will help you to understand what they’re looking for from work experience.
Considering an application
Read the Work Experience Application Form and contact the Supporting Organisation to talk about the request.
You’ll need to think about whether you can protect the individual’s health and safety and if any reasonable adjustments may be needed during the placement – discuss and agree these with the Supporting Organisation before offering a placement. Also talk to the Supporting Organisation about the option of applying for Access to Work funding.
All work experience applications should be considered fairly and objectively and in line with our inclusion and diversity policy. If you can’t accept a request, it’s important to tell the person and the Supporting Organisation why. Could you do something different instead - for example, giving a tour of the workplace? Although not typical of a work experience placement, it may give them some of the knowledge they’re looking for.
Once you’ve decided to offer a placement, think about the tasks the person will carry out and fill in the role profile template (below). Make sure that the tasks are reasonable, given their age and previous experience. Give the role profile to the person and the Supporting Organisation.
Supported Work Experience Placement Agreement
You’ll need to agree a Supported Work Experience Placement Agreement with the Supporting Organisation before the placement can start.
It’s important that you keep a record of the completed supported work experience agreement form (below) and any other paperwork in a locked location.
In business areas that carry out screening checks before new employees join, people over school leaving age who are looking for work experience will need to complete the same checks before they start their placement. If you’re not sure if checks are needed, speak to your manager or the Resourcing Team.
Confirming the details
Get in touch with the Supporting Organisation to arrange the start date and times of the placement and send them a copy of the work experience FAQs, which answers some common questions people may have before joining us for work experience. Also make sure you confirm the name and contact details of the person’s supervisor, so they know who to ask for on their first day.
Anyone joining your workplace, even for a short time, must understand the need for confidentiality. Share our data protection and confidentiality agreement (below) with them and talk about what this means in your workplace. For anyone over the age of 18, they must read and sign this agreement before the start of the placement. For those under 18, it’s not legally binding but you should talk them through the key points so they understand how important confidentiality is.
There may be some parts of your work or workplace that it wouldn’t be appropriate for the person to see – think about how to plan around these issues.
Before any work experience placement starts you must carry out a risk assessment - using the work experience risk assessment form (below) - and share any risks with the Supporting Organisation. The Supporting Organisation will be able to help you, so involve them with this.
It’s your responsibility to ensure that any reasonable adjustments you’ve agreed with the individual or the Supporting Organisation are in place for the first day of the placement – if they’re not, you should delay the placement until they’ve been made.
Preparing for the placement
Talk to your team about the work experience placement and ask someone to act as a buddy. Make sure they know what work the person will get involved in and share the Role Profile with them.
If needed, make sure you arrange access to IT systems and/or a temporary security pass, so things run smoothly on day one. It’s also a good idea to map out an activity plan for the individual, so everyone knows what they’re doing and when.
Be sure to welcome the person and give them an induction on day one. Remember, the world of work may be unfamiliar to them so a good induction should help them settle in. You might find the work experience induction checklist useful to make sure that you’ve covered the key topics - feel free to add other things to this list.
It’s particularly important that they get the same health and safety information and training as any other new employee. We owe the same duty of care to them as to an employee. If they have an accident in the workplace during the placement, you must tell the Supporting Organisation straight away and then follow the usual accident reporting procedures.
Ongoing support and supervision
Make sure there’s ongoing support and supervision for them. How much supervision they’ll need will usually depend on their age, but if they’re under school leaving age they should be fully supported and supervised at all times. Their buddy should also be available to offer support and answer any questions they might have.
Completion of placement
At the end of the placement, give feedback to them and the Supporting Organisation about the tasks they’ve been carrying out and how you think they’ve done. Thank them for their time and help and give them a certificate of recognition (below).
You’ll need to record the work experience placement through our intranet form. Go to the intranet and search for 'work experience form'.
This helps us to report on work experience activity so we can understand and demonstrate how we are supporting our social goals.