Work experience 

Paid work or work experience is intended to give students the opportunity to experience working life and the key skills needed in the workplace.

Within the limits of what is available, and the demands for very popular areas of work, the choice is made to benefit a student's education, rather than for job sampling or recruitment purposes.

Normally, companies where a student already has experienced through a parent or a part-time job are not used. This makes sure that they are having a real extension of their experience.

The preparation programme for students will ask them to look at equal opportunities and stereotyping before making choices. All students, from those taking the fewest examinations to those who will take degrees, need real knowledge of the world of work.

Students in the last 2 years of compulsory schooling can take part in Work Experience (from the start of Yr10).


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 could help by making sure the students complete it and by completing the Employer Assessment section for the student.

Parents or 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 medical information which could affect the health, safety and welfare of their son or daughter whilst on a work placement.

The Education Act 1996 and local bye-laws place limitations on the type of work which students can experience. The School's Work Experience Coordinator can advise on this.

Work experience process:

  1. The Work Experience Coordinator or Teacher Responsible plans a Scheme of Work for the Health and Safety Preparation, Briefing and Debriefing of students before Work Experience
  2. When a company is known to be willing to take a student the teachers responsible for the student will send the company contact details of their Work Experience Programme
  3. Parents, Employers and Students are asked to complete the Approval and Consent Form which indicates that all parties agree with the arrangements
  4. Work Experience Organisers 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

Employers need to inform students of:

  • Their main duties and tasks,
  • The type of work,
  • Any associated specific risks
  • Their control measures and remind the students of their responsibilities whilst on placement

Parents or guardians will also have to be told of these risks. There is a section on the Employers Section of the Approval and Consent Form to do this. If parents or guardians or employers have any queries or difficulties they can contact the Work Experience Coordinator.

Health and Safety at Work

  • During preparation in school, students will have the importance of health and safety responsibilities at work outlined to them. They will be introduced to the ideas of their responsibility for health and safety, safe working practices, signage and significant specific risks and general control measures. The employer will need to reinforce these Health and Safety responsibilities at the start of their placement through their Induction Process
  • The Health and Safety Training for Employment Regulations 1990 give all school students receiving training the same protection and duties as employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act and other relevant statutory provisions
  • The requirement for employers to inform parents/guardians of the outcome of their Risk Assessment is under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The Approval and Consent Form will enable employers to do this if they wish
  • The general duty of care which teachers owe to their students will extend to the arranging of any Work Experience placement
  • The main responsibility for the Health and Safety of the student whilst on Work Experience lies with the employer
  • Fire, First Aid and Accident Reporting procedures must be explained to the student by the employer
  • 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


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. The parents will be asked to provide medical information which may affect the safety and welfare of their son or daughter whilst on placement.

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 (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) 1995 Regulations. The employer must report any such accidents or occurrences to the Head Teacher or Work Experience Coordinator of the school and the student's home if a telephone number is provided.

Child Protection Issues

Schools should have considered 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.

Insurance Arrangements

The Employers 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 work the vehicle insurance must cover them.

6 principal areas of risk 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 employee's property

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 employee's property should normally be covered by the employer's Public Liability Insurance policy
  • damage to the employer's 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.

The Work Experience Scheme requires the school staff to make a Teacher Visit to the employer during the placement to monitor and review the progress of the student. Where a visit is deemed not to be "reasonably practicable" e.g. out of the area, the school will contact the employer.

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. If a company's hours are 8 am to 5 pm, it is not expected that students arrive at 9 am and leave at 4 pm.

Students on work experience must not be paid and will not pay tax or N.I. contributions. Employers can assist with travelling or lunch costs if they wish.

There are no fixed requirements. Five to ten 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.

Lunch and Break Periods

Parents should discuss the arrangements for lunch and break periods with their son or daughter and make sure they are suitable. 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.

If a student wishes to undertake Work Experience out of the area then parents or 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 Coordinator should be the first point of contact if the information on this is required.

Each school has a designated member of staff responsible for Work Experience who can be contacted at any time during the work placement.

Parents or Guardians and Employers should be given the name of the Work Experience coordinator and their contact telephone number before the work placement taking place.