At Placer we see work experience as an umbrella term which covers a huge range of opportunities, all of which we are perfectly poised to help you realise. Starting off our guide are the more traditional kinds of work experience which you are most likely aware of already, these might include:
A position taken within a company, normally within a specific role, during a student’s summer break from university where they can pick up some valuable career skills whilst they are not actively studying. As an example, this could be in a department which hits a busy period during summer, this has the dual benefit of helping some of your busier teams at a difficult time and helps students get some real-time workplace experience
A temporary position post-graduation which helps a student get their start at a company, often leads to a full-time graduate position with said company or provides the foundation of experience which helps in an application to a similar role elsewhere. As an employer this could also take the shape of a graduate scheme where you allow your new recruits to try out different roles and departments to find where they can best enrich your organisation as a future leader.
Normally a more specialist role, a year in industry is usually completed as part of a vocational course such as engineering and is often factored into the allocated course as a chance for a student to gain experience which will often directly tie in to their future career. Many employers often specifically target their graduate recruitment in certain roles to students who have worked with them in this respect previously.
The likelihood is that you have come across these before and depending on your industry there is every chance you have even completed this type of work experience yourself! All the above have a proven record of being great for increasing a student’s employability in the post-university landscape but they only scratch the surface of the types of experiences which can be made available.
Having students in to work with you does not necessarily have to be for long stretches to see benefit, work experience can be shorter term opportunities which can last as little as a day to a week or a single month. Some examples of what this can look like are:
These can be undertaken as training days or weeks which can help a student gain workplace experience for whatever kind of profession they are thinking of pursuing and help to introduce new students to your organisation. This can wind up being of quite low cost for you as an employer if you run some of your existing training sessions, helping your trainers keep up to date and engaging potential future recruits.
If there is something which you are working on which could do with some student input, setting up a workshop can be a great way to not only get feedback on your project but also to provide a valuable learning experience to the attendees, by getting students involved you can both help further your project with a fresh perspective and also impart some great knowledge to the students.
Having students in to shadow a member of staff for a couple of days, or even a week with multiple staff members, is another way to for a student to gain some great knowledge of the world of work without you, as an employer, needing to provide too much resource. The student gets to see your team in action and your staff don’t need to do much more than their day-to-day role.
Arranging a company event or open day can inspire not only the invited but also your own employees! Have you also thought about inviting students to some of your existing events or meetings? Sometimes a fresh perspective can be a great idea and everything you can do to involve a student can be an important step forward in their career.
The above shorter experiences can be fantastic for students to understand a little about how their futures could look but can also be greatly beneficial to the employer. By providing a larger number of small opportunities you can increase the strength of your brand through word of mouth as students talk about their experiences with you as an employer when back at university, as well as having you in mind when planning out their careers!
Aside from these, there is also the future. When we talk about the work experience revolution at Placer we want employers to be thinking about all kinds of different ways to engage with students which we can help to enable. There are so many ways to involve the future of our workforce, including some methods which traditionally are only seen in certain industries but could be applied almost anywhere! These can be:
Whilst most of the experience types we have spoken about so far would be done whilst the student is away from university, a great form of work experience can be done on a part-time or supplementary basis! This could take the shape of a student being hired for a position to get training and work with your teams but one day a week or every two weeks, or maybe more frequently if the students schedule can allow it. This can be a fantastic start to a student’s career at the same time as helping you out as an employer with workloads in different departments at busy times during your yearly cycle.
Every department in every company has times when they have some simple projects through, the kind of work which their longer-term staff members can do without breaking a sweat. One way to engage students is to get them in to work on these projects, this allows students to get some great in-industry experience and frees up some of your permanent employees to work on things which may be more challenging! That said, the reverse can also be true, if you have a big project which may require hiring some temporary staff, it may be a great idea to get some interns in to help out.
Work experience does not need to be location based either, you can even think about setting up a distance mentoring scheme, this can also go along with supplementary days or any other kind of work experience mentioned in this guide!
These have been some broad strokes to capture what work experience could look like for you but you wouldn’t need to be limited to just the above, if you can think of any way to involve students in anything your company is working on, it can always stand to be beneficial and as a member of the Placer community we want you to be enabled to create and advertise as many amazing opportunities as you can. If you have any questions or want to arrange a call/meeting to go over how you are currently thinking of engaging to students and how that can be expanded please feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.