Work experience is brilliant for young people. But should you offer work experience placements as an employer?
On the one hand, it can feel like more trouble than it’s worth. You’re getting an untrained person who might distract other team members from their main role – and might necessitate additional paperwork too.
Yet, as the vast majority of employers offering work placements discover, there are many benefits outside the traditional expectation that work experiencers are simply there to make the tea:
Why offer work experience placement as an employer?
1) Attract the talent of tomorrow
The IT jobs market, in particular, is currently a highly competitive one.
This means that if you’re interested in hiring tomorrow’s best and brightest, showing them everything your company has to offer is a good lure to dangle in front of them. It will set you apart from the other unknown tech companies they might be considering working for.
Because people like what they know. And if your work experience trainee likes your team and your business too, that can be a great way to get ahead in the IT recruitment process.
That means it’s worth treating your work experience “hire” as a resource that can do more than water the office plants or make that tea.
You want them to go away having experienced a little bit of what having a civil engineer job – for example – is like. Specifically, you want them to know how good it is to be a civil engineer with your company and maybe even recommend you to their friends.
2) Build relationships with institutions
Many business leaders who haven’t been able to offer work placements before overlook the gains that come from building relationships with local educational institutions.
These can be fantastic two-way streets. You get a first “in” with a talent pool that contains the workplace stars of tomorrow – not to mention insight into their worldview, hopes, and dreams that can prove invaluable to a business in any number of ways.
In return, the institution gets an insight into the skills and education required and desired by companies offering engineering and IT jobs their students might like to have one day.
3) Access digital and social media skills
While this is rarely an issue for most tech companies, the fact that young people tend to be at home with all things digital – particularly social media – can be a great boon to businesses that are missing this kind of expertise.
This can be a generalisation, of course. Yet accessing the thoughts and skills of someone who has grown up intimately familiar with the latest digital technologies can be well worth the ticket price of a work experience placement.
This is doubly true if you will be starting your company’s digital transformation in the near future.
4) Give your team more experience
Another overlooked point of value in a work experience placement is the supervisory and training experience it can provide for members of your team. Especially those who might otherwise not be senior enough to get that kind of experience.
For a team member whose workload includes minor tasks that a placement trainee can take on and who has a vision of being a team or tech lead or head of web development, data science, or whatever their department is one day, a work experience person can be the perfect fit.
5) They’re free!
The minor outlay of team time and filling out any paperwork aside, bringing in a young person for work experience doesn’t cost you anything.
Should I offer work experience placements as an employer?
Not every business is in a position where they can offer work experience placements. And, as we’ve discussed, only offering a work experience trainee the opportunity to make your team cups of tea for the week can actually backfire.
That said, offering work experience placements as an employer is something most firms should consider. Especially when facing challenging job markets like engineering and IT recruitment.
Looking for the ideal new recruit to fill an IT or engineering job vacancy?
Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist engineering and IT recruitment company. Our market-leading AI recruitment technology matches your specific needs with the best candidates from our extensive talent pool.
Arrange a cost and commitment-free chat with one of our expert advisors today.