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 Post subject: Work experience
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Posts: 3810
Location: Chelmsford and pleased
My DC have had very different experiences of this phenomenon.

DS completed 10 very enjoyable days in a small Swedish bank, where he had something different to do every day, met clients and generally learnt a lot. They also gave him £3 per day to cover his lunch costs. He loved it.

DD is working for a tiny London media company where she is expected to work 9-6 with barely any breaks, 20 mins at 3pm. She has to do data entry all day for the entire time. She did actually ask for something else when praised for the speed that she got through batch one. I think this is a dreadful abuse. Her travel has cost us £100 to complete something that is compulsory for many teens. Her commute is 1hr 50 mins but she cannot leave earlier than 6pm.

Is this normal in 2014? The company has 'work experience' children/people for the entire summer.


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 Post subject: Re: Work experience
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 4580
Location: Essex
DS1 was quite lucky with his placement, an infant school twenty minutes' walk from home. It probably put him off six-year-olds for life, but the school gave him a good report at the end of it.

Are these placements which were organised by your DC's schools? If so, I would definitely speak to whoever is responsible for organising your DD's. If nothing else, she should have at least a half hour break after 5.5 / 6 hours. School work experience is not meant to be outright exploitation...

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 Post subject: Re: Work experience
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
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It does depend on the age of the student and as suggested, whether it has been arranged privately or under the school scheme. If its the later then you should inform the school coordinator.

In such a company this is probably normal working practice and they aren't aware of needing to meet standards for school students.

As far as the work goes though I think this is a more normal experience and your elder DC was very lucky to have done so much. Realistically the best that can be hoped is to keep eyes and ears open and learn as much as possible.

Regarding the travelling costs, I am surprised that any placement requiring a significant outlay like this is compulsory. Local scheme here 'allocates' places locally and it is only if children/parents come up with their own that any significant travelling would be involved.( In these cases the employer still receives written guidance on what is expected, primarily from a 'health and safety' perspective )


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 Post subject: Re: Work experience
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 4580
Location: Essex
SHSB made it clear that even if the student's placement was arranged privately, the school was to be given contact details in advance and the actual organising war to be done by the school. We opted to allow the school to organise everything; London was a possibility but as I think DS1 had indicated 'education' as one of his interests and there was a placement available close to home he was given that. I would worry that any firm on a school's list would 'not understand' their responsibilities vis a vis a young person on a school work experience placement - heaven knows there has been enough publicity about the way that some businesses treat graduate interns :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Work experience
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:08 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:00 am
Posts: 99
Moved - was deeply concerned when I read your post - and I'm afraid, not to put too fine a point on it, the company are "exploiting" your child. Just looking at employment regulations regarding youngsters it states "There are several restrictions on when and where children are allowed to work.

Children are not allowed to work:

for more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour"

Now it may be that the company are oblivious to this, which unfortunately is no defence, however they must be made aware that what they are doing is wrong.

If I have understood correctly and the school have organised this then they must be made aware exactly what the conditions are under which your child is working - you should have been given details of the member of staff responsible for work experience. Our local education authority had very strict guidelines that had to be met when our year 10s were taking part in work experience, regardless of whether this was organised by the school, education authority or parents. In fact one organisation was prevented from being allowed to carry out and further work experience for leaving a lad digging ditches, unsupervised and without access to water in the sun for 5-6 hours.

There will, I daresay, be those that feel that kids need to understand how tough, boring, dull, repetitive - delete as applicable - work is, especially in those positions that require few qualifications, but even so - what this company has been doing is totally wrong and they may simply need a nudge in the right direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Work experience
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:59 pm
Posts: 1268
Hi moved, sorry only just caught up with this but as I work in the media thought it was worth posting my experience.

I actually think there are two slightly different issues here. To be honest with you people in the media industry tend not to have lunch breaks – at the companies I work for, the most people do is pop out to buy a sandwich then bring it back to their desks and carry on working, though I agree your daughter should be allowed to do that earlier than 3pm. You haven't said whether your daughter is interested in the media as a career, but if she is it's probably as well that she knows that, whatever the law says, she isn't going to get breaks. If a student insisted on a lunch break, they would probably get it but I'm not sure I would advise that.

However, as regards the other issue you have raised, I totally agree, it is dreadful abuse. It is quite wrong that your daughter is being used purely to do data entry that full-time staff don’t want to have to do. Work experience is not meant to be exploitation.

When I was editor of a magazine we used to get our work experience students involved in every aspect of publishing – writing (for which they would get a by-line in the magazine), editing, watching designers lay out page proofs, accompanying journalists on interviews, accompanying photographers on shoots, shadowing the ad sales team etc.

Good for your daughter for asking for different work, that’s not an easy thing to do at her age. I think she should say she doesn’t want to be doing data entry every day and expects to be involved in, or at the very least be allowed to watch, other aspects of the business. I think she could justifiably say she now has plenty of experience of data entry!

(FWIW we would always cover a student’s travel costs too, though I know that does vary from place to place.)


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 Post subject: Re: Work experience
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:58 am 
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Sorry Rob, that may be the norm in the industry but for work experience students and/or young people under 16 (and I have no idea how old the OP's daughter is as some schools do work experience in Y10 so we could be talking about a14/15 year old or a 16 year old) there are very strict and stringent rules laid down about breaks and hours of work. I respect you and all your posts so I know what you are saying, but the issue is that no child should be made to feel "threatened" (ie they are going to ask me to leave) if they ask for the legal breaks they are entitled to. This is before you get to the point about whether just data inputting is a useful experience of media work? I would certainly speak to the work experience co-ordinator at school - even if you have arranged this yourself, they will have had to "sign off" on it in the sense that you finding the placement meant one less for them to find and they should be the middleman between you, your daughter and the employer for any concerns.


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 Post subject: Re: Work experience
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
I thought I'd add what my company do for work experience students.
Most, if not all come to us off they own bat, usually because they know someone at the company.
We try and arrange that they spend a day or half a day with different people, so they get to try different things. We do get them to do constructive work, but work that is interesting and within their capabilities.
At lunchtimes, the grads look after them and take them for lunch, then deliver them to wherever they are supposed to be next. Since the company operates a flex time system, then the student would be allowed to start and leave at reasonably flexible times, especially if they were being brought in and taken home by a friend or relative employed at the company.


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 Post subject: Re: Work experience
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 5921
My son has to do work experience in December. Can he come to your company please, Tinkers? :D


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 Post subject: Re: Work experience
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Posts: 3810
Location: Chelmsford and pleased
To clarify: school did not organise it. DD is 16. DD was told that she had to organise her own work experience as was DS. A few weeks ago school said that work experience is no longer compulsory. Great for future year groups or those who hadn't organised anything yet.

DD is now taking a break of 10 mins every 2 hrs and taking herself off to lunch for an hour.

She asked again for some other work to relieve the monotony and was given 1/2 hr of research. The highlight so far!

I took her out for dinner in the sunshine, which cheered her up last night and it is only one week.

She loathes it, but is getting through. She has developed a taste for coffee!

Worrying that this is indicative of the media industry? DD wants to be a foreign correspondent so arranged a media based placement. Yesterday, she was considering banking as DS had had such an enjoyable time.


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