How offering Work Experience to Young People can benefit your business

Written on the 24 August 2017 by Broome Chamber of Commerce

How offering Work Experience to Young People can benefit your business

Are you an employer that offers work experience opportunities to young people? Many businesses work with schools to offer work experience programs to high school students.  If you are already well acquainted with the experience of having young people come into your workplace for a few days then you probably already know some of the advantages this can bring to your firm. If post-graduation or school holiday work experience is not something you have thought about previously, however, it could be a great move for your business to introduce a program.

What is Work Experience and what does it mean for employers?

The good news is, creating work experience opportunities for students and school leavers is a win-win situation for both your company and for the young person undertaking your program. For employers, work experience is about giving back to society and helping the future economy by doing your bit to help preparing young people for the world of work. Employers who offer work experience give young people the opportunity to work on the company premises for a few days or, in some cases, an extended period of a few weeks.

Many young people, once they have completed their senior school certificate have an idea of what they want to do as a future career but they have no real hands on experience in the workplace. They are fresh from the classroom and so by offering work experience opportunities, employers help to shapes young people's perceptions of the world of work. It gives students and school leavers an opportunity to be part of a different environment and to learn about what is expected of staff in the workplace from superiors and managers. It also gives them the opportunity to work alongside peers.

Creating work experience opportunities also means you are helping students and school leavers to make more informed choices about their future. Depending on the industry you are working in, their time in your workplace will give young people some valuable practical experience in an industry that could be competitive. Work experience within that profession or industry could be a crucial stepping stone for them and, of course, they will be more ready for the workplace once they have completed their program.  It is said that, because a young person now has the hands on experience within your industry, they are more likely to remain in that field as a result of you offering work experience. Perhaps they are pondering an apprenticeship or a university pathway into your industry.

This benefits you as an employer because you have a bigger pool of young talent to choose from. It is well known that Western Australia is currently experiencing a skills shortage and this is acute in some industries. By creating work experience opportunities and giving students and school leavers a taster of your industry, you are helping to narrow that skills gap.

On the flip side of this, of course, you could also be giving your work experience person the opportunity to realise that your field of expertise is exactly what they don't want to do with their future. This is still a win-win for you and them. They've had a lucky escape and you haven't wasted your time recruiting someone who realises further down the line that your sector is just not for them.

Some Work Experience Benefits for Employers

Work experience benefits your other employees by allowing your employees to practice their communication, supervisory and mentoring skills with the young person

  • Offering work experience opportunities doesn't cost you, financially, in fact with Government initiatives available, you would in fact gain financial incentives for hosting a young person in the workplace
  • Employers benefit because work experience is good branding for the company as your business will gain the reputation of a recommended place of employment.
  • Employers benefit because young people bring a whole new energy and perspective as young people introduce a diversity to your business environment.
  • Employers benefit from offering work experience because it's a great recruitment strategy when you find the right fit for your business.  Offering permanent roles including apprenticeships and traineeships reduces recruitment costs and allows you to mould the young person into the right fit for your business, and access any financial incentives available to your business and the young person.
  • Offering work experience benefits your whole industry by promoting a potential careers and positions that would be attractive to young people
  • Offering work experience helps young people to mature and allows them to make more informed choices about their future career direction

So as you can see, there are numerous benefits to the employer who offers work experience to school leavers and students. However, in order or these benefits to manifest themselves, the work experience program must also benefit the person undertaking it, too.
Work experience is not about getting young people to wander around the office making cups of tea and coffee for the regular staff. It is not about employers just drafting in a few free staff to cover a busy period. It is not about sitting a young person in the corner of the room while they merely watch what is going on around them, ignored by the rest of the staff.

Having a carefully thought out work experience programme where young people can work on real projects and even do some of the more mundane tasks, too means they get a true picture of what it is like to work in your industry and you, as an employer, should get to reap the benefits mentioned above.

For further information on setting up a Work Experience Program and the financial incentives available, please contact Working Together West Kimberley Workplace Liaison on 08 9193 5553 or

Author:Broome Chamber of Commerce

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