Work placements provide many opportunities and benefits to both employers and students. Those most commonly cited by employers are:
influencing the quality of future employees: employers can help improve the quality and preparedness of young people coming onto the labour market;
development of recruitment channels: building links with local schools can help to attract school leavers into jobs and can reduce recruitment costs;
brand awareness: work placements are often formative for students and discussed frequently with peers. A work placement significantly impacts on their awareness of the brand and values of the organisation, which will be shared with others;
influencing career choices: many employers report that work placements are the ideal way of raising the profile of career opportunities within their organisation and, in some cases, of dispelling unwarranted stereotyped views;
raising the community profile: many employers attach importance to raising their profile in the community. Work placements provide a valuable means of creating a positive image amongst students, teachers, parents and employees;
creation of staff development opportunities: the process of policy development, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of work experience programmes gives scope for employees to develop their management and coaching skills, and widen their experience;
increased motivation of employees: companies participating in education-business link activities have found that such activities increase the motivation of their employees;
understanding changes in the education system: closer liaison with schools helps employers to improve their understanding of modern learning processes and current educational qualifications, and enhances their relationship with teachers.
monetary: students may provide fresh perspectives, as well as providing an additional resource.
A supervisor/line manager should be allocated to the placement for the duration of the programme. This person is key to the successful completion of the placement, and enthusiasm and flexibility is essential. It is important also that other members of staff are informed of the placement and facilitate the student where appropriate. It is important that suitable tasks for the student are identified before the placement begins and that these are worked into a timetable. A tour of the workplace is highly valuable, as it shows the different elements of the business and can provide context for their particular position.