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Work experience

Work experience is intended to give students an experience of working life and the key skills needed in the workplace rather than an chance to try out an occupation they may want to follow. Normally, companies where a student already has experience through a parent or a part-time job are not used. This makes sure that they are having a real extension of their experience. All students need real knowledge of the world of work.

Students eligible to take part in work experience

Students in the last two years of compulsory schooling, ie from the start of Year 10, can take part in work experience.

What students should do while 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 should have a work experience logbook in which they can record progress. The employer can help by making sure the students completes it and by completing the employer assessment section for the student.

What you can do as a parent?

Parents can offer valuable support in finding placements. Your written consent is needed before a placement can begin. You will have information about the arrangements and will know how to contact the school if their child reports a problem to them about their placement. You will be asked to provide medical information which could affect the health, safety and welfare of your child while on work experience.

Limits on the jobs student can do

The Education Act 1996 and local bye-laws place limitations on the type of work which students can experience. 

Working hours

The Working Time Regulations 1998 apply to students on work experience. However, the number and pattern of hours worked is normally agreed by the provider, school and student. If possible, normal hours should be worked but students are not allowed to work outside any hours specified by legislation. 

Pay, tax and National Insurance

Students on work experience must not be paid and will not pay tax or NI contributions. Employers may help with travelling or lunch costs.

Length of work experience

There are no fixed requirements. Five to 10 days on a ‘block’ is currently seen as the normal length of stay if work experience is to offer enough depth to be of use. Students on an ‘extended’ work experience need to work at least one day per week if the experience is to be of real value.