On this work experience thing……..

Designing The Experience of Work
I hated my work experience. Two weeks spent making cup’s of tea and doing the filing for embittered old men. It instilled in me a fear of offices, old men and filing that took 6 years to get over.
Then I found a manager who helped me find what I liked doing.
There is surely nothing wrong with the concept of “work experience”. The concept of giving people a chance – any chance – to prove what they can do has to be applauded.
But there is a problem with work experience. And it’s not just that businesses may be using unpaid help to subsitute the work of establishment posts. ( I’ve not seen any evidence to be fair)
The problem is the concept of work experience hasn’t changed fundamentally since the late 1980’s. It’s still about herding people into experiences that they might hate rather than unlocking potential.
Bromford have gone some way to re-designing this. Over 200 people applied for our last Opportunities 4 Employment placements. Paid placements that give 6 months work experience in a variety of roles and experiences. Giving the young person the opportunity to try us out as much as we are trying them. And if they like it they can have an Apprenticeship in the area of the business they are most interested in.
There is room for further innovation. Work Experience needs re-designing for the 21st Century.
It needs to be about helping people find out what they love doing and how they can get paid for it.

2 thoughts on “On this work experience thing……..

  1. Ha! This brings back memories for me. I did work experience at a BMW showroom, thought I would love it but hated the whole experience – really stuffy office, ultra-quiet, boring admin work. My second stint was at a nursery – lots of responsibility, mega-busy, great fun and hugely rewarding.

    In my experience the BMW showroom were just happy to have an extra pair of hands to do the dogsbody work. Whereas the nursery really truly valued your contribution.

    Work experience should stimulate the senses, be purposeful and help develop skills, not matter how short the experience. Real opportunities need to exist, challenges need to be set. You don’t get that making tea and doing admin.

  2. Work Experience has received some rotten press lately – what do you learn stacking shelves at your local supermarket ? Let me answer that question. You learn to get out of bed, travel to where you work, arrive on time, and do what is asked of you, day after day….in other words, you experience the Dicipline of Work. That is what will get you to an interview on time for a real job, and a ” reliable timekeeper” recommendation on a reference is worth its weight in gold.

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