Frequenty Asked Questions
Is Work Experience compulsory? All Year 10 students attend a week of Work Experience. There are no lessons or supervision provided in school. If a student does not get an external placement, they will be required to come to school and work either with staff on activities week, within the office or with the caretakers. This is a fantastic opportunity to try out a possible career, gain confidence and make new friends and contacts. The Governing Body of the school have allowed you to take this time off from school to engage with the world of work. It is a legal requirement that you attend the full work experience period.
What is the purpose of work experience? Work Experience is designed to give you the skills and confidence to cope in the work place and understand the daily routine, particularly in your chosen field. It will help you to decide if you want to work in a particular employment area. Being able to illustrate that you have actual experience in the type of work you think you would like to specialise in will help you gain future course placements and employment. You will be able to build up useful contacts and may even be offered a part time job or post-university career. Arranging your placement requires perseverance, planning and research. You need to use you initiative and communicate effectively to persuade an employer to commit to taking you on for the duration of the work experience. Remember the employer does not get paid to look after you for the week; employers take part because they want to help young people, therefore you have to make sure you are committed and enthusiastic and will not waste the employer’s time. Most pupils will secure employment through friends, relatives and contacts in the community.
Why do I and not the school find a placement? We ask you to find your own placement to ensure that it is something you really want to do. You should think about which friends or relatives may have connections or contacts within the work area you are interested in. Think about parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, trusted neighbours and friends of the family – do any of these people work in areas that interest you? You could ask them who the best person to approach about work experience is and then write a letter. Many companies will only offer work experience to employees’ family or friends.
When should I get the placement organised? Between November and March is preferable as this gives you plenty of time to make a search. You will avoid the rush as students from other schools seek placements in the summer. The earlier the better! If you leave it too late your preferred employer may already have booked a student or be reluctant to organise something at short-notice. Many of the larger prestigious employers will have many applicants so it is better to get a placement sorted out early. This year’s deadline for Own Find Forms to be submitted is March – the specific date is on the form itself.
Where can I go on work experience? You can be employed in any organisation as long as it represents the ethos of the school. Placements should ideally be in the London Borough of Barnet as this will reduce travelling time. However, major employers such as banks, museums, retail shops will have headquarters in Central London. Larger employers tend to offer the best work experience placements as they have Personnel departments to manage placements and the resources to offer an interesting placement where you can attend meetings, go on site visits etc. It is preferable not to work in a small business where you think they may be too busy to look after you or you may just be photocopying or making tea.
How do I find a placement? Think about where your relative work, or trusted neighbours and friends of the family – do any of these work in areas that interest you? Look in the Yellow Pages or online at Yell.com under listings for the type of business you are interested in working for. Consider ‘Googling’ employers in London and look at trade directories or Associations and Organisations that represent employer organisations e.g. Retailers’ Associations will represent John Lewis and Fenwicks. Visit the Careers Office in school for names of companies that have taken students in the past. Have a look around the local area; there are many business parks, retail and leisure outlets near the school what interests you. This is a real chance for you to use your initiative, which is experience in itself.
What happens if I am not successful in finding a placement? You should have no problem if you search hard enough and early enough. If you cannot find a placement, or an employer lets you down at the last minute, you can consult a database of past employers used by Hasmonean pupils. This is a list of employers who have been accepted Hasmonean students. If you are still unsuccessful you will have to return to school for the week and assist in Activities Week, with the caretakers or with the administration staff at school.
Can I stay at home if I am not successful in finding a placement? DEFINITELY NOT. All students must either attend a placement that has been confirmed and sanctioned by the school or be in school to perform other duties, such as assist with Activities Week. Students who do not go on a placement and remain at home will be considered to be absent from school and an ‘unauthorised absence’ will appear on their records.
I am undecided as to my future career. What should I do for work experience? It is not unusual at all for someone of age fourteen or fifteen to not have a specific career in mind. You will need to think about your likes and dislikes in general terms. For example, do you imagine yourself working in an office environment, or outdoors? What subjects do you enjoy at school? These questions could suggest some jobs you might find interesting. Think about where parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, trusted neighbours and friends of the family work. Do any of these people work in areas that interest you?
I am not getting responses to my letters of application or telephone calls. What should I do? This can be very disappointing. Always keep a copy of your letter so that you can double check you sent it to the right person at the right address. Letters asking for work experience often go unanswered as it is a low priority for many companies and they have to deal with customers first. Some just simply have not had time to write back to everyone or feel uncomfortable saying “no” if they are not able to take you. Allow at least two weeks to go by after you have sent a letter, then you could telephone or visit in person to ask politely if they had received your letter and ask if they could consider you for work experience. It is very important to be positive and enthusiastic. All students do find a suitable placement eventually, but it can take a lot of hard work. Read your letter again; have you explained why you want to do work experience with that particular company and do you sound enthusiastic and hardworking? Ask your Head of Year or Work Experience Co-ordinator to check your letter. If they are not available immediately, even a parent or relative could perhaps assist you in redrafting your letter.
Can I do work experience where I already have a part time job? You can. If this is something you are really interested in, spending a whole working week involving more processes, personnel and requirements than the hours you already work, will be of great value to you. Alternatively, you might want to try a different company in the same line of work to widen your knowledge and contacts, or try a completely different type of work.
Can I be paid for the work I do? Yes, but it is not something that you can enforce or demand off an employer. If they wish to pay you as a reward or reflection of your hard work then this is something between you and the employer.
Can I work for two separate employers during the week? This can be an advantage and is permitted however you will need to complete two separate Own Find Forms.
Can I work with my parents? Parents or a close relative may be able to help arrange a placement where she or he works but we would not encourage you to work directly with parents as it can create difficulties for the employer. You need to be certain that this is the type of work you want to try out and you are not just going along because it is an easy place to work. You will build more confidence by working with new people and going slightly out of your comfort zone. If a family member is keen to offer a placement, please let the Work Experience Co-ordinator know as there may be another student looking for this type of work.
Can I go with a friend at school? You can work with at least one other person from your Year Group. However, you are limited to accompany only one other person, so no-more than two students can attend any one employer unless the employer is particularly large enough to accommodate more than two students. Complaints from employers occur as students tend to relax with friends rather than work. In addition, starting work with a friend does not replicate the challenge you will experience in your first job, which is unlikely to be with people you know.
Are there restrictions as to the employer I can work with? Employers such as the DHSS, private medical companies, doctors and dentists may insist you are 16 years old when you start your placement. Other employers may be unsuitable due the ethos not matching Hasmonean’s standards. Some employers may not be suitably insured with recognised public liability insurance.
Can I work abroad? Several pupils have had exciting and challenging placements abroad working with friends and relatives in South Africa, Gibraltar and France. Parents who wish their sons/daughters to work abroad will need to obtain specific permission from the school and the Headteacher before being allowed to attend a foreign placement. The school will also need information about the nature of the placement and the work the pupil will be engaged in. This may include an itinerary of the placement on a daily basis.
Is it necessary for me to complete an Own Find Form? Yes absolutely. We require the form in order to complete the necessary health and safety checks and approve your placement. Without approval, you will not be allowed to go to your placement.
What will I be allowed to do at my placement? There are rules and restrictions regarding the work that people of your age can do, and are in place to protect you. This is because people of your age are often less confident, less aware of consequences, smaller in stature, lower in strength and generally not used to being in a place of work. Rules specific to each placement will be written into the job description you receive before going on placement. What you are allowed to do varies at each placement and very much depends on the type of work and the supervisor. The more enthusiastic and interested you appear the more likely the employer will be to find you more to do. Many of the activities carried out on work experience are similar to those of a junior member of staff. If you are only allowed to watch some activities, try to stay focused, ask questions and try to fully understand what is going
on and the processes before and afterwards. More understanding may lead you to be able to suggest tasks you might be allowed to undertake.
What should I do before my Work Experience starts? Obviously, you should establish the address and name of the contact person at your placement. You should be clear as to the start and finish times of the working day and what the dress code is. For example, you may have to wear a uniform. You should also work out your transport arrangements to and from the employer.
What should I do on my first day of work experience? On your first day you should have a meeting with your work experience placement manager. You should have an induction meeting that sets out what you will be doing, health and safety regulations and an introduction to the staff with whom you will be working, as well as a tour of the premises.
How do I deal with any problems that may arise during my work placement? Any minor problems can usually be sorted out with your employer. However, any major problems that you experience, such as a request to do unsuitable work, or if you experience bullying in the work place should be referred back to the school who will act on any issues with your parents. In extreme cases, students may be removed from a placement if it is deemed unsuitable.
What if I need to be absent during my placement? In the case of requiring time off for a medical appointment or illness, students should request and negotiate this with their employer in the same way as requesting time off or informing the school of absences etc. Students should also inform employers of the need to not work late on Friday afternoons and Saturdays to account for Shabbat.
How can I be informed about Health and Safety? You can ask your employer what specific health and safety problems might exist at your work place. Students are advised not to work in placements such as building sites where employment may be hazardous. Students can consult the Health and Safety on Placement Booklets available on the school Work Experience Website.
What is the calendar for the Work Experience Placement? The main date line for Work Experience this academic year is:
- Introduction to the programme with Yr 10 assemblies and distribution of Own Find Forms (Jan 2019)
- Deadline for submission of Own Find Forms – 30th April 2019
- Deadline for finalisation of Pupil Placements – June 2019
- Final confirmation of placements – end of June 2019
- Work experience briefing assemblies – first week in July
- Yearr 10 Work Experience placements – 8thto 12thJuly inclusive