Should parents take an active role in arranging work experience?
Through their own network or friends. Or should they leave it entirely on kids?
3 experts and 3 parents have answered
Great question Chanda and very topical at the moment too. A number of reports have been published in the last 12 months detailing the way in which the current work experience arrangement are failing our young people. I don't think this is true right across the UK but it is certainly very patchy and with a change in government funding prioritising 16+ this leaves a huge gap for youngsters in Years 10 onwards.
The number of work experience opportunities available to young people have been rapidly diminishing over the the last few years and will continue to do so due to a number of factors, including retail industries staffing over 7 days, the shift from vocational to academic achievements in schools and so on. The quality of young people's work experiences are strongly linked to future careers, whether as an employee, business owner, or voluntary worker. Good work experience placements help young people understand the current and future market for job opportunities, and provide essential practical skills development alongside building confidence, motivation, and other skills but how can a young person discern whether a work placement is 'good'?
Should parents take an active role in arranging work experience? Yes, they should take an active role in working with their child to discuss what their interests are, looking at their current skills set and helping to identify possible locations for gaining some work experience whether that is through their networks and friends or elsewhere. Work experience of course can take many different forms, and doesn't have to be the traditional 'placement' approach. It could for example include business owners taking a particular challenge to a group of young people e.g. an event to organise or a technology problem to solve.
I am involved in some work at the moment looking at the whole area of work experience for those in Year 10 upwards. I'll be in London in November at an event I am helping to organise which will showcase the talents of 200 school children and give them the opportunity to work with businesses in particular industries - that is 'work experience' too!
As many of you will know, I am a firm believer that parents have a crucial role to play in developing entrepreneurial potential in their children from a young age. When it comes to supporting them with work experiences, my beliefs are the same. Just as with nurturing their potential though, be careful not to 'take over' - empower and support them to make the decisions :-)
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My teen son expressed a desire to do work experience at my workplace, so I asked and they were happy to help out, for a family member.
I can understand the difficulty of finding places, if the placement is to be of real value, there is a significant work load on the part of the company providing placements. My company treats it as any other job application process, and asks the student to provide a resume and a covering letter requesting a placement.
Health and safety is a significant factor, so all of the training that any new inductee would get is given to the students. We tailor our experience so that the student gets the widest range of experience, if they express an interest in a particular area, we try to do our best to help.
I'm not sure all work experience placements offer the range and breadth we offer, so he's going to find it an interesting, and tiring, experience, I'm sure! We're fortunate to have a wider range of engineering and administrative experiences available, few companies offer that.
It's hard though, despite being part of a large organisation, with the benefits and disadvantages that brings, we are only a small company with a frequently high workload, so the time provided to students is incredibly valuable.
Personally I think it can bring great benefits to a company, you will find talented and enthusiastic individuals that can be incredibly valuable to you later, it's an investment in the future, and I wish more companies offered it.
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It's great for children to get an introduction to work experience via their parents if possible, but for it to be more realistic, parents should avoid sorting it out for them and encourage children to find their own placements and actively apply for positions. This is all great experience for them and spoon feeding them work experience rather defeats the purpose!
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Absolutely, if they wish and their kid wishes. But I don't think it helps anyone if they make all the arrangements, or burst in and take over if the teenager wants to do it without parental help.
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I am agree with you Lorraine.
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My take is that.. it depends.
Is one thing to spoon-fed your child (you know the types that have their all life laid up in front of them since they are little babies) and another thing to help him get a job giving the serious unemployment rate around the world these days.
I have friends which they've been working for their parents' companies or have been helped to find certain positions but the only thing they have those positions are 100% because of their status or alike.
I say if you can help your child find a job, by all means do it, but then all the careers choices must be theirs!