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Work Experience - The Benefits to your Business

As a small business owner it’s likely that staff salaries form a large part of your company’s overheads.  Finding and retaining good members of staff is quite a challenge for SME owners here in the UK.  Have you ever considered offering work experience to students and school leavers?  While many business owners may be put off work experience, often thinking that they’ll get lumbered with a clueless teenager who will need constant supervision, this is not necessarily the case.  Some youngsters taking part in work experience can really make a difference and get to grips with the job in ways that bring benefits to the business in which they’re working.  This was clearly demonstrated recently when Eddie hit the news headlines, a teenager doing work experience at Southern Rail.  Fifteen year old Eddie was left in charge of Southern Rail’s Twitter account and tweeted up a storm which attracted so much engagement that it led to a load of free publicity for Southern Rail in the shape of some great news articles which overshadowed any complaints tweeted by angry commuters and gained some welcome positive attention.

So many youngsters complete their GCSEs without any real idea of what they want to do as a career and giving them the opportunity to undertake some work experience can help them to make up their minds.  Creating work experience opportunities in your company means that you will give young people some valuable insights into your industry.  This could be a crucial stepping stone for them when they need it the most and having some hands on experience means that they are more likely to be ready to take their place on the workforce when the time comes.  Just take a look at the benefits to your company of taking on a work experience youngster:

  • Having a young person on the team will boost morale with the rest of your employees – they’ll develop supervisory skills as they mentor the youngster which will raise self-esteem and make them feel more valued.  Asking staff to supervise students or school leavers is a great way of keeping them engaged and showing off any leadership qualities they have – some of them may just surprise you!
  • It’s free!   There is no legal requirement for you to pay the work experience candidate – they are there for a few days only to learn from you.  However, some employers do like to help out with travel expenses or lunches.
  • Good branding for your company – this is especially so if you take the time to create an organised programme of work that is genuinely beneficial to the youngster.  Word will get round and you’re likely to have more young people applying to do work experience with your company.  Your company will gain a reputation for investing in young people and get recommended as a good firm to work for.
  • Offering work experience is an effective recruitment strategy – if the youngster looks like being a great potential employee, you can offer them a permanent role, part time job or apprenticeship while they finish their education.  If you don’t have a recruitment budget, work experience is a great way of finding new talent.  Young people have not picked up habits from working at other jobs so offering you work experience student a permanent job is a great opportunity to mould the person into the type of employee you need – and it avoids the cost of bringing in more experienced, skilled professionals.