Why your business should offer work experience to young people

Work experience for a young person can prove invaluable. It can help them make the choice if they want to go to university or enter work at 18, decide what career path they want to pursue and can even be that tiny bit of experience on their CV or UCAS form that makes their application successful.

From an employer’s view, however, work experience might seem more like a burden than a blessing with concerns ranging from safeguarding and insurance considerations to worries about disruption and overloading employees with additional responsibilities.

Concerns like these are however normally unfounded, and employers who offer work experience to young people usually report back nothing but positive feedback. It’s not just a one-sided deal either, work experience can offer real benefits to employers too. Here are a few reasons to consider offering work experience to young people, if you don’t already:

A new view

Young people view the world differently and their inherent curiosity makes them highly observant, this is a combination of qualities that can prove invaluable to employers. They will ask why you do things in a certain way, suggest solutions to problems, point out inefficiencies and generally put your company under the microscope.

Who knows their feedback could lead to a revolution in the way your business operates.

Getting those little jobs done

We’ve all heard the joke about the work experience placements being the ones who know how to make a good cup of tea. This joke is rather tired, but there’s a certain amount of truth in the fact that young people on work experience are the perfect people to help you get those little jobs done.

Things like assembling office furniture, watering plants and organising the storeroom. Those jobs that aren’t any existing employee’s job but are also too small and infrequent to justify hiring someone specially to do them.

Just make sure you get the balance right, a 16-year-old who’s interested in becoming an engineer, might leave their placement with you a little disenfranchised if they did nothing but dust shelves and get people coffee for a week. So, be certain to include a healthy dose of activities related to their interest — even if it’s just shadowing employees.

Understanding what young people want

No matter what your business offers, understanding what young people want could benefit it in one way or another. Whether it helps you hone your recruitment collateral and tune your benefits packages to better sell yourself to graduates. Or getting a better understanding of young people allows you to adapt and market your products and services better.

Build relationships with institutions

Building good working relationships with other organisations is of course vital in business. Accepting applications for work experience helps your business to build relationships with local schools, colleges and universities which could serve as highly beneficial in the future.

After all, these places are talent pools from which you’ll draw future employees. By developing a closer relationship with local schools and colleges, they’ll be able to better understand what employers look for and help their students to develop the skills you desire.

Good for your team

Finally taking on work experience placements is good for your existing team. It allows employees to develop experience in supervising others, prepping them for managerial roles as well (hopefully) easing their workload, by having someone to help out with the small things.

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