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Are you wondering what the advantages of offering work experience as an employer are? Or if there are any in the first place?

In this article Senior Associate Solicitor Debbie Coyne, shares the pros and cons for employers who are considering providing work experience.

Why offer work experience placements as an employer?

In one respect, offering work experience can feel like more trouble than it’s worth; an unexperienced individual is coming into the workplace, they will generally require increased supervision, they could be distracting to other members of the team and will often necessitate additional paperwork.

Nevertheless, as many employers offering work experience uncover, there are many benefits attached to work experiencers.

There are several reasons why employers offer work experience to students and individuals looking to gain experience in a specialised field. Work experience opens up recruitment opportunities; staff development; engagement and contribution to the local community.

By offering work experience, not only are you helping to shape and develop potential future employees, but you are also setting yourself apart from other businesses from the beginning, showing prospective employees what you have to offer and what sets you apart from your competition.

Part of being a business is also about giving back to your community - offering work experience does exactly that. Such offering demonstrates that you are willing to engage and support young people in their education and progression, giving them better chances in the future. This will be greatly appreciated by local colleges and universities. We are hopeful that in turn this will lead to more awareness of your business as colleges and universities will be better able to recommend your organisation as a good employer.

An added benefit to work experience is that it allows the business and its present employees to test their motivating and supervisory skills. Which can then be utilised within the workforce, leading to increased morale and productivity within the business.

Considerations for employers

Whilst there are several benefits to offering work experience, there are also various considerations for employers, particularly in relation to the health and safety risks. However, with the desire to encourage more work experience placements, the Health and Safety Executive have recently reviewed their guidance to make it easier and less burdensome for employers. 

Provided that the employer’s insurer is a member of the Association of British Insurers, individuals on work experience placements are now covered by the employer’s existing liability insurance policy.

Is a DBS required?

DBS checks are not always required, it will depend on the type of business or organisation. Whether a student or individual requires a DBS check relies on:

  • Age – the individual must be the age of 16 or over to have a DBS Check
  • The role itself – an individual need to get an Enhanced DBS Check and/or barred list check if the work experience job includes a “regulated activity” with either children or vulnerable adults.

Equality Act 2010

Another important factor to note is that work experience is covered by the Equality Act 2010, under provisions on employment services.  Just like employees, workers and applicants, individuals undertaking work experience have the right not to be discriminated against. Should a work experience be subjected to discrimination they would be entitled to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal. This could result in additional costs for the business as well as being publicly tarnishing on the businesses name.

What should an employer do?

The decision on whether to offer work experience is ultimately dependent upon each individual business and its needs. Whilst there are considerations for the employer to think about, welcoming students and individuals on a work experience basis can have many benefits to the business and its culture.

Key Contact

Debbie Coyne

Debbie Coyne

Employment Law Senior Associate Solicitor

Debbie is a Senior Associate in the Employment team who regularly attends our offices in Altrincham, Warrington and Chester.  She is recommended in The Legal 500 and has been named as a Rising Star.

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