Whether it’s a traineeship, internship or hosting high school students looking to experience the jobs market, work experience can have a host of benefits for the job seeker and employer alike.
It allows a business to foster young talent and give back to the wider community while exposing young workers to the environment of the workplace and furnishing them with on-the-job skills.
However, the best work experience programs are not just about social responsibility. They should be equally valuable for the potential employee and employer.
Here are our top tips to ensure work experience works for your business, now and into the future…
Keep it relevant
True work experience allows job seekers to gain real skills during their time with a business, but it also allows an organisation to identify and harness real talent.
That means any programs should align with the business values and potential positions that could become available.
Rather than just offering work experience participants the opportunity to observe, provide them with entry-level tasks that put their skills to the test and enable them to be involved.
Where possible, that might include setting a specific task or allocating a project that needs to be completed within the work experience time frame.
Devise a program
Work experience runs best when devised as a program somewhat similar to recruiting or onboarding new staff. For the business, that means taking the time to interview attendees, identify their areas of interest and offering them experience or exposure to the skills involved where possible.
It also means work experience participants should understand the business, so ask them to learn about the business and its ethos prior to commencing any position.
Alternatively, provide an information package that explains your program and sets out expectations of what they will do during their time with you.
Allocate a mentor
Allocating a mentor to the work experience participant has benefits for the job seeker and business. It provides one-on-one support, interaction and guidance to the participant, while also giving your staff member the opportunity to hone their skills as a leader.
It also ensures the ethos of the business is consistently imparted and represented.
Interview and debrief
Interviewing participants as they commence time with your business and when they leave offers valuable interview experience to them, but it also allows the business to hone any work experience program.
Importantly, it gives the business a one-on-one opportunity to get to know a participant. This can be particularly useful for devising recruiting strategies that cater to a young generation. More specifically, it might also offer the chance to review the participant’s achievements and attitude during their time with a business to see whether they are a candidate for future employment.
The benefits to business of well-structured work experience
Well-structured work experience goes far beyond social responsibility, providing the business with the real opportunity to improve its internal operations, impart skills and identify talent.
For the business it:
- Allows real work to be accomplished
- Hones business training procedures
- Enables the business to identify potential talent
- Potentially saves on recruiting costs
- Helps foster leadership skills in staff mentoring or overseeing the program
- Allows the business to gain a reputation as a recommended place of employment
- Injects fresh energy and insight into a business through worker diversity
- Exposes the business to the needs and skills of a young generation
- Benefits the wider industry by offering an insight into what’s involved in the field
- Fosters a company’s reputation as socially committed
The Father James Grant Foundation partners with corporate entities and organisations to offer on-the-job training and mentoring for young people looking to enter the workforce.
We tailor each program to the business involved; working with business to impart the skills they require and instill the employee ethos they seek.
If you are a business looking to participate, there are two ways to become involved: you can assist through workplace training or mentoring, or alternatively, assist the program through sponsorship.
Either way, the businesses involved are helping to change Australia’s employment landscape at a time when the youth jobless rate is at its highest in years.