Work experience is an important way for young people to gain insight into the working world. Time spent with an employer is often invaluable and can broaden a young person’s knowledge of industries and sectors. Thus it can play an important role in helping to inform and shape their thinking before they commit to a chosen career path.

Offering work experience opportunities to young people also enables employers to access the range of talents and unique skills and insights young people bring. It provides opportunities for existing staff to supervise and mentor young people, helping to develop their management and other professional and personal skills.

H. Porter & Sons is happy to tailor work experience to the interests/skills of an individual, while working within the limits of what is appropriate for their age. Generally, for those aged 16 and under, and still at school, the experience we offer is designed to show how a small business works, while providing insights into funeral directing and customer service. Students over 16 years of age will have the same experience as school pupils but with the added opportunity to understand the workings of the mortuary. This is particularly useful if they are studying towards a qualification in an area such as health and social care, science A levels, criminology and forensics.

The benefits for young people

Work experience helps young people to better understand the working environment and make the transition from education into working life by giving them

  • First-hand experience of the workplace and insight into jobs and sectors
  • A chance to develop transferable skills, which they can take forward into a new environment
  • Insight into how their skills and abilities translate to the workplace
  • An opportunity to find out more about themselves, what inspires them and to try different sectors and employers, without commitment
  • Increased confidence and understanding about the work environment
  • Understanding of potential employability skills they have or need
  • Experience that can be added to their CV demonstrating what they have learned, and skills gained
  • Increased understanding of sector/industry and networks available, enabling opportunities to engage and connect their network further

The benefits for employers

Offering work experience is beneficial to employers for several reasons:

  • Recruitment opportunities and building future talent career paths: work experience placements enable employers to understand the current capabilities and talents of individuals and access a wider range of talent. This helps employers to consider future strategic talent management, workforce and succession planning
  • Fresh ideas: young people offer new ideas and ways of thinking, reflecting the interests and needs of the next generation of customers and consumers
  • Staff development: offering work experience placements can provide opportunities for existing staff to supervise and mentor young people, providing opportunities to realise unidentified skills and develop management or other professional and personal skills
  • More engaged workforce: providing work experience sends a positive message to our wider workforce about how we support talent. This can help create a more engaged workforce overall
  • Engagement with the local community: work experience helps to boost local economic development, can lead to increased brand loyalty and profile

Work experience placements – what you need
to know:

Work experience generally is an opportunity for someone to spend a limited time with an organisation. Generally, a school work experience programme with H. Porter and Sons is for one week, while for older
students, we can offer flexible arrangements. H. Porter & Sons follows the required legal obligations when employing young people for work experience.
We consider:

  • Liability insurance
  • Risk assessment
  • Health and safety assessment
  • Employment status and entitlement to pay

With school work experience, insurance should be supplied through the school and local education authority. For older students, insurance from a place of study can also be helpful, though our workplace
insurance does cover those aged 16 and over.

Our work experience packages are generally unpaid.

We welcome applications from individuals or from educational establishments to: enquiries@hporter.co.uk

UK law

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), (formerly CRB), check is not compulsory for staff supervising participants aged 16-17 – a DBS check will be required if an employee’s specific job purpose includes looking after under-16 work experience students. Workers aged 16-17 who help or work with young people of their own age require a DBS check when taking part in volunteering, part-time work or unpaid work experience which involves a regulated activity with those under 18. This applies even if the individual is under 18 themselves. No DBS checks can be carried out on anyone under the age of 16.

At H. Porter & Sons, we ensure that work experience students are allocated to DBS holders and we are working towards having every member of our team DBS checked. We also offer a training course to all of our staff called ‘Young Persons in the Workplace’, which staff monitoring our work experience students must complete.

Liability insurance covers people on work experience

Individuals over the age of 16 on work experience are covered by the employer’s existing employers’ liability insurance policy.

Employers can use existing arrangements for assessments and management of risks to young people

At H. Porter & Sons, we manage risks for all workers, assessing any additional workplace risks for young people who are in a new working environment. For example, their muscle strength may not be fully developed and they may lack the skills and awareness of more experienced workers.

Health and safety guidelines made simple

In the past, work placement arrangements have sometimes been seen as overly-bureaucratic. However, the Health and Safety Executive recently reviewed its guidance to make it easier and less burdensome for employers keen to offer work experience placements.

There are very few work activities a young person cannot do due to health and safety law. It’s important to remember that as an employer, we have primary responsibility for the health and safety of the student and should be managing any significant risks. We’ll do this, by:

  •  Explaining the risks and how they are controlled when inducting any individual undertaking work experience; checking that they understand what they have been told and know how to raise any health and safety concerns
  •  Relying on past or pooled experience when thinking about health and safety
  •  Keeping checks in proportion to the environment the young person will be working in

Pay and duration of placement

Young people can be taken on by an organisation in a number of different ways. However, when we take on a young person of compulsory school age, for a short- term work experience placement, we do not pay them for their time. However, as a Living Wage Foundation member, H. Porter & Sons understands employment status and entitlement, and applies this to everyone in the organisation.

Induction

When young people join on work experience, they will receive an induction to the workplace that will help them to integrate quickly and learn about working life. A young person entering the world of work for the first time may have little understanding of how it functions and how they should behave. If the young person has a CV, we would welcome receiving this before work experience to help us to begin to understand the student.

The induction is a great opportunity for H. Porter & Sons to:

  • Get to know the young person
  • Understand their previous experience
  • Talk about the expectations of both parties
  • Establish the young person’s goals
  • Provide space for the young person to ask questions

At H. Porter & Sons we provide:

  • An introduction to our organisation, detailing how our company is structured, the key people the individual will have contact with, their role and what they do in the business
  • A tour of our building and its facilities, including where to get food, nearest toilets, first aid facilities and where the fire exits are situated, any evacuation procedures, as well as health and safety information they need to know (this is a legal requirement)
  • A clear outline of what students will be doing during their time with H. Porter & Sons – this also includes an opportunity to gain the skills or experience the young person is keen to develop
  • A plan or schedule for the individual’s time while on work experience, clearly outlining what they will do each day (for example, where to report to each day/logging in each day, who to meet, etc)

Training

At H. Porter & Sons, we use an online training provider for short courses and for managing our policies and paperwork. All our online training courses have the option to receive a certificate on completion, which will be useful for student records.

Before a young person commences work experience with us, we will need their full name, email address and date of birth to enable us to register them on the system and for us to be able to send over some forms and training which are to be completed before commencing work experience. This will include, but not be limited to:

Health form (which details any long- or short-term conditions, medication, allergies etc)

  • Staff information form (Name, address, emergency contact details)
  • Health and safety awareness training
  • Personal protective equipment training
  • Manual handling training
  • Hand hygiene training
  • Environmental awareness training
  • Display screen equipment training (admin office-based students only)
  • COSHH awareness for employees training

And for those interested in mortuary work experience,
these training modules are also compulsory:

  • Sharps awareness
  • Infection control

Devising tasks

It is important to plan in advance to give our work experience students a variety of tasks and, if possible, rotate them between departments so they gain a good insight into the different aspects of the workplace. Where possible, we have the option to maximise the young person’s exposure to the business by arranging lunch with different team members each day – from all levels of the organisation.

Supporting the young person

At H. Porter & Sons, we ensure that there are dedicated persons with ring-fenced time in their work schedule to supervise the young person throughout their work placement. We will plan a schedule to help students see what they’ll be doing each day. H. Porter & Sons is proud to be an equal opportunities employer and actively supports work experience applications from all cultures, genders and backgrounds. We also welcome neurodiverse students. All of our toilet and washroom facilities are gender neutral.

End of the placement

H. Porter & Sons will provide a certificate to confirm that the young person has attended work experience. A reference is also available on request and if the young person would like to try a practice interview at the end of the placement, we can arrange this to fit it in with their work experience plan.