Workforce of the future
More employers in Hull are being urged to offer work experience opportunities for school pupils in years 10 and 11
Malet Lambert pupil Daniel Boast (15) spent a week on work experience at boiler manufacturers Ideal Heating, on National Avenue, west Hull
For teenagers approaching working age it's a great chance to shine and prove themselves.
And for employers, a teenager on work experience placement can bring a wide range of benefits too.
Unfortunately, due to the economic situation, the number of employers in Hull who currently offer placements has fallen sharply.
"It's not just because companies have closed down, but also because many of them are under great pressure or have reduced numbers of staff which impacts on their capacity to supervise a young person," says Sandra Cooper from the Humber Education and Business Partnership (EBP).
"But it's our job to keep the numbers up and spell out the enormous advantages to both parties."
Benefits to the employer
One of the benefits for an employer is that having a teenager on work experience can help staff develop mentoring skills.
"If someone is aspiring to be a manager, it's a way of them gaining first hand experience of management processes and that can lead to improved self-confidence and sense of worth," adds Sandra.
"There's also the possibility that employers may be able to avoid the lengthy recruitment process if they find a suitable person through work experience."
Other benefits include:
- increased motivation of employees
- reinforcing good health and safety practices because working through an induction with a learner and risk-assessing their activities allows staff to review the current system
- learners can undertake planned projects that staff have not had time to carry out
- raising the profile of the company in the community because work experience placements create a positive image amongst learners, teachers, parents, employers and customers
Big firms could do more
Almost 4,000 work experience opportunities are supplied for year 10 and 11 pupils in Hull each year by the Humber Education Business Partnership (HEBP), which provides links between schools and businesses.
But there are gaps in certain sectors including painting and decorating, engineering, media, veterinary, information technology and performing arts.
And currently more than 90 per cent of placements are provided by small to medium-sized businesses.
"Whilst grateful for the opportunities provided, it's possible that some of the bigger companies could offer more placements through the involvement of all of their departments," says Sandra.
"We feel that some of these smaller companies are really punching above their weight and that's to their credit."
If your company can provide a work experience placement please call the Humber Education and Business Partnership on 01482 391 627
Prepared for the future
My work experience took place at Hull City Council's communications and marketing department.
As the week got closer I was actually really excited that I was being given independence for the week.
Yet, stood at the foot of the steps leading up to the Guildhall on the first morning, it dawned on me that this was my work experience and you only get one chance to make a good first impression.
During my week in the office I worked with different people in different roles within the department, such as press officers and web content officers.
I got the chance to write a press release and visit the BBC studios, where I met Peter Levy and got a short tour of the BBC centre.
I wrote about Freedom Festival for Hull City Council's website and edited other parts of the website.
All the staff were very friendly and welcoming, which makes it easier, especially during your first day.
I found that during my week at work it was more important to think about your time management.
I also had to travel into the city centre everyday, but felt so much more independent as I could do a spot of shopping in my lunch hour.
I was even given a pass to let myself in and out of the building!
When I was involved in the weekly team meeting it really gave me an insight into how the department works and how they address certain issues and help each other out.
Overall this whole experience of work makes you feel that little bit more prepared about your future.
By Jennie Brighton (15)
(Jennie is a year 11 pupil at Newland School for Girls)