Employer Engagement

A short guide to the new 16+ work experience for SLT

Tuesday 8th October 2013

Today the government has issued new guidance for work experience (WEX) in the 16+ curriculum. Full guidance can be found here.
A quick bullet point tour follows:-

  • The advice is non statutory but brings together advice from EFA, Ofsted & HSE
  • Applies to all post 16 providers, academic or vocational inc those offering supported internships & traineeships
  • Reiterates the continuation of Maths & English to 18 or GCSE grade C standard
  • WEX needs to be high quality tailored to the pupil in terms of ability, attainment and aspiration.
  • Importance is placed upon enterprise education - Workplace visits, enterprise projects, mentoring, work shadowing & employer workshops & talks.
  • Funding is on the same basis as any other education or training for 16-18 year olds

1. are directly relevant to the student's study programme
2. are planned, explicit in the student's learning plan or timetable
3. supervised and/or organised by a member of staff; and
4. take place normally within the institution's normal working pattern; this includes out of hours working if the sector demands it e.g. retail, hospitality, agriculture

  • Voluntary work can possibly count towards WEX but has caveats

Ofsted will be looking for:-

  • Outcomes - Evidence of contribution to overall development of pupil
  • T&L - How pupils are supported to learn in a different environment away from school/college
  • Leadership & Management - How purposeful & appropriate is WEX and how well does it integrate with other learning experiences.

Good Practise - 3 very important points were made, thus I'm going to copy them in full

  • The central and dedicated role of work experience coordinators was seen as crucial to managing the relationship between employers and heads of curriculum areas to ensure that work experience was integrated into the curriculum.
  • Taking a top-down strategic approach to delivering work experience will gain the buy-in of curriculum staff and students and lead to more sustainable work experience provision.
  • Flexibility in the timing of placements was important in meeting the needs of students' programme requirements and employers' capacity to provide work experience.

Health & Safety

  • You have to do what is reasonably necessary to ensure that pupils are safe on WEX.
  • You do not have to carry out physical risk assessments on low risk environments where the employer already employs young people under the age of 18. However, you must be sure that the employers have put practises in place to mitigate risks for young people under the age of 18. This can be done via phone, email or other means of communication.
  • Where there is no history of employing young people the employer should carry out a new risk assessment or review a previous risk assessment if it is already in existence.
  • If a high risk placement is to be used the report infers that a risk assessment should be carried out in line with HSE practices. I don't think this is totally clear as yet. HTs may wish to err on the side of caution.
  • If risk assessments are carried out they do not need to be repeated for successive placements
  • Pupils are covered by the employers insurance
  • The Health & Safety at Work act has been amended to cover young people on WEX
  • Supervisors of WEX students are not requited to undergo a DBS (formally CRB) check

I hope this whistle stop tour will help busy SLTs understanding of WEX's current position within the curriculum. Please feel free to comment or to contact me to clarify anything.

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