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Working with a young person in a real work environment

Thank you for giving or considering giving one of our young people the opportunity of experiencing a real working environment. We appreciate this may be a new experience for some of your staff and we provide this short checklist of guidance provided by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and the Department for Education (DfE).

The Right Start

The best way we can help you to protect your organisation and the young people placed with you is to direct you to read The Right Start - work experience for young people - health & safety basics for employers. This HSE leaflet www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg364.pdf will help you, and those responsible for work experience in your organisation, ensure that young people have their health and safety protected while they are with you. The leaflet contains notes on good practice which are not compulsory but which you may find helpful in considering what you need to do to comply with the law.


  • Ensure that the student is supervised at all times by someone who is competent in their work role and mature in attitude
  • Always ensure that that the student is aware of who is responsible for them



This should take place on the first day and include

  • A discussion about the purpose of the role and job description
  • Highlighting any relevant risk assessment outcomes
  • Expectations
  • Support available during the placement
  • Health and safety and emergencies


Safeguarding young people

  • If a young person discloses confidential information to a work colleague that gives rise to concern for their physical or emotional safety this should be immediately communicated to school or college.
  • Young people should not be left in an isolated environment or vulnerable situation
  • You are required by law to protect young people and vulnerable adults from harm and employees are required, under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act, to declare that they are disqualified from working with young people or vulnerable adults
  • Under The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, an employer/ organisation must not knowingly allow a person banned from working with young people to have contact with a work experience student
  • Help your staff by distributing our aide memoire protecting young people in the workplace to people supervising or working alongside the student and display in your staff room


Top tips for a successful work experience placement


Before the placement

  • Carry out an interview with the student beforehand to ensure that this is the right work experience for them. This will also give you an opportunity to get to know them and discuss expectations
  • Ensure that all relevant staff are aware that the student is coming (including security, reception, HR, line management and colleagues)
  • Ensure that supervision arrangements are in place, including who will be responsible for the student throughout the placement and identify a substitute supervisor in case of staff illness
  • Plan a schedule of activities for the leaner – for a range of suggested activities and projects that can apply to a variety of work areas
  • Make sure that you have an emergency contact number for the school or college and parent or guardian of the student – if you are in doubt contact Proactive Education


During the placement

  • Ask to see the young persons’ work experience log book or diary and give them time during the day to complete it. This will help them to reinforce the learning that is taking place
  • Provide the students with regular feedback on their performance. Students benefit immensely from regular reviews of their work and feedback on what they have done well and how they can improve


At the end of the placement

  • A positive way to end a placement is by asking students to present what they have learnt during their placement to your team on their last day and discuss their performance with them
  • A small acknowledgement of the contribution that the student has made is acceptable but not obligatory
  • Complete the student’s placement report (sent via email notification) 


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