What would the responsibilities of my company be? What legal aspects do I need to be aware of?
The employer is responsible for ensuring that the student undertakes suitable work, at the right level for them, for the duration of the work experience. A member of staff should be assigned to supervise and mentor the student. This person will be their point of contact for any issues that arise, and will also be required to write a report on the student’s performance.
The employer is responsible, under current Health & Safety at Work legislation, for taking all reasonably practical steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all students on its premises. Under the Young People at Work Regulations, employers are required to inform young people between the ages of 16 and 18 of any significant risks to their health and safety. It is also their duty to supply all students with personal protective equipment if needed and give training on its use, and to inform students of any precautionary measures associated with tasks and machinery.
What conditions does my business need to meet? What documents do I need?
The placement employer needs to meet all the College’s health and safety, equality and safeguarding criteria and will be assessed by the Work Placement Officer on this basis.
Once a health and safety visit has been completed by the College, a Service Level Agreement will be put in place which will clarify the responsibilities of the employer and the College.
Placement companies can provide the College’s Work Placement Officer with a copy of their safeguarding policy. However, if this is not something you have, Insurance Policy documents will usually cover the Health and Safety requirements that will be needed.
At the end of the placement, we provide the employer with a Work Experience Employer Survey which is used to capture their feedback.
What do I need to pay?
Placements are generally unpaid. However, the placement employer may reimburse students for any out of pocket expenses they incur while on placement such as travel costs, meals and drinks.
How would the process start?
The Colleges have an extensive network of business contacts in local boroughs, so many work experience opportunities come through these contacts. In addition, employers can contact the Colleges’ Work Placement Officers to let them know that they would be willing to take placement students in certain roles, or in some cases the College will reach out to local businesses.
The Colleges’ Work Placement Officers will then usually visit the organisation to discuss the number of placements available and check that the placements will match the requirements of the relevant study programmes. They will also check that the organisation meets all the necessary health and safety, equality and safeguarding criteria.
Who organises the placement and who is responsible for the details?
It’s the responsibility of Lewisham College and Southwark College’s Work Experience Teams to find ‘purposeful’, relevant and challenging work opportunities with employers. Each department of the Colleges works with the Work Experience Team to achieve this.
For students under 18, a parent or guardian needs to give written consent.
The College will undertake a Health and Safety risk assessment prior to the placement.
The employer’s responsibility includes organising a suitable induction for the student prior to the beginning of the placement, assigning a member of staff to supervise the student throughout their placement, checking the student’s progress, signing their logbook and writing a report on the student’s performance at the end of the placement.
How selective can we be when choosing a work experience candidate? What do we do if we are unhappy with the work experience candidate after it has started?
You can let us know what your requirements are and we can send you a shortlist of suitable students. This isn’t always the case as it depends on how many placements there are and how many suitable students there are. If at any time you are not happy you will be able to discuss this with our Work Placement Team.
Would my company be paid? Who covers the cost of resources?
Unfortunately, there is no financial budget to pay the employer – this is more about providing opportunities for young people to develop real life skills.
Is there an information pack you can send me?
Yes, employers are provided with our Induction Guidance for Employers.
How long would it last? And are there any particular dates?
Work placements can last anywhere between 1-13 weeks spread across a period of time. Often when a student has completed a successful work placement, the employer will ask them to continue the placement over a longer period, fitting in with the demands of their course.
Placements usually take place between January and June.