Mar 18

Making work experience work

Posted: 6 March 2018

Tracey Nicholson, Project Manager at Skills for Care, talks about how adult social care employers can make work experience work for them.

I’m a firm believer that everyone should be given equal opportunities when starting their career – which makes it all the more worthwhile when I hear of the many examples of people who have received help to overcome their barriers to entering work, simply by doing work experience.

Work experience is an important way for people to get an insight into the working world, and gives them valuable experience to enhance their CV and boost their chances in the recruitment process.

Arguably more important, are the additional benefits work experience can bring to boost the confidence of potential recruits, and really motivate them to want to work in our sector.

When the Department for Education published their careers strategy before Christmas, I was pleased to see that work experience was a priority for students in schools and colleges. This puts adult social care employers in a strong position to influence people who are making decisions about their careers. Offering work experience can provide a talent pipeline for your organisation and it can help you see if people are right for the role before they apply.

It inspires me to see that so many employers are genuinely concerned about achieving the best possible outcomes for placement students – they see it as their duty to improve access to the labour market and in return they’ve had lots of benefits from high quality placements.

With the right attitude and support in place, you can make work experience work for you. Here are some top tips from employers I’ve spoken to, to help you get started.

  • “Life in a care home is so varied, with no two days the same - so the work experience we offer is diverse to give a rounded view of what it’s like to work there.”

    No one day in social care is the same, so don’t make your work experience the same.
  • “Importantly, tasks are shaped around the person’s interests, skills and capabilities to ensure they’re engaged and motivated.”

    Everyone’s different so tailor your work experience to their interests and skills – there are lots of different job roles in adult social care, so give people the opportunity to explore them. Whilst someone might not want to be a care worker, they might make a great receptionist or kitchen assistant.
  • It’s fine if they say social care isn’t for them. It’ll save you time and costs in the long run if someone says it isn’t the right job for them during work experience, rather than 6 weeks into employment. 

If you want to give people the chance to see if social care’s right for them, our Offering meaningful work experience guide can help. It has practical step-by-step guidance to help you plan and deliver meaningful work experience, so that you can make work experience work for you.

Visit our website to download your copy.