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To think 4 weeks work experience at 13/14 is a pointless crock of shit.

(63 Posts)
Experiencedout Wed 14-Feb-18 10:24:26

I have name changed as I'm pretty sure I have seen someone from dds school post.

Dds school do two weeks work experience in year 9 and two weeks in year 10 with an option for more in year 11.

They are given anywhere between three months and three weeks notice of the dates and this has changed (so not like you can base it on when older years have been).

Because of the lack of time on the shorter notice one and the fact that not many places will take them at 13 its a scramble to get anywhere suitable.

Last year so many failed to get a placement that they carried on normal lessons and testing to the detriment of those on placement.

This year everyone was told go or we will find you somewhere. As we live out of area that would be very difficult for us as dd doesn't know the town and areas around school.

So we found placements vaguely similar to what she wants to do.
Last time it was OK and she did some good things but mostly it has been doing basic admin stuff.

So in effect she has spent four weeks of school time cutting and sticking, laminating and printing. Which would be fine for a week but four?!

Given that they weren't allowed to watch a film at Christmas because 'every minute of learning counts' and they have banned holidays in term time because it is so damaging aibu to think that although I can see some of the benefits of a week or two work experience then four weeks is bonkers?!

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 14-Feb-18 10:29:07


There are so many times as to who can do what that any meaningful part of the job will not be open to them.

Imo alot of r the business just want someone they don't have to pay to do all the stuff no one else will.

Cleaning stock rooms , hoovering the attic and making everyone the tea and coffee where that's probably the only time they even speak to you.

Very few places seem to have an actual plan for the work experience where they observe or participate in a wide range of things

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 14-Feb-18 10:29:24

So many rules

DSHathawayGivesMeFannyGallops Wed 14-Feb-18 10:32:29

If it's the thread I think you mean, yes. The school ask for a lot. YANBU and I'd be pissed off too, especially if my child missed out on revision and their grades suffered as a result.

UgandanKnuckles Wed 14-Feb-18 10:41:19

I used to work for at a large petshop and we were constantly inundated with school children wanting work experience to work with animals. Unfortunately due to our insurance/ health and safety laws there was very little they were actually allowed to do, and a fraction of that actually involved the animals.

Rufustherenegadereindeer1 Wed 14-Feb-18 10:47:02

Yanbu at all

In the slightest

Its only useful if you are lucky enough to do something that resembles what you want as a career or it leads to a part time job

A few of my friends children purposely took retail positions in the hope that they would be hired as weekend staff

LaurieMarlow Wed 14-Feb-18 10:54:33

I'm all for work experience, but I agree that they'd get a lot more out of it when they're older and that 4 weeks is bonkers.

We've had a couple of 15 year olds in our place and one in particular wasn't mature enough to get much out of it. I'm not surprised businesses are reluctant to take them so young, it's often a strain on resources to keep them gainfully occupied.

HollyBayTree Wed 14-Feb-18 10:56:59

Actaully it often gives focus to those with no direction and is responsible for a big change in attitude once treated with adult responsibility.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 14-Feb-18 11:02:17

I think it can also be responsible for the opposite though.

If you have a weekend job off the back of it with the possibility of a full time job after school where is the incentive to work harder or train further when at 16 living at home with few expenses and a regular pay cheque is like a dream come true.

If the experience is a poor one where you are shoved away cleaning rooms that haven't been touched since the place was built then it's going to completely put you off doing what you thought you wanted to do.

Merryoldgoat Wed 14-Feb-18 11:03:07

I think it’s a massive waste of time generally.

You don’t get paid (a MAJOR part of the experience), you’re usually treated like a dogsbody or ignored, and as PP said, there’s rarely a plan about what they’ll do.

I did work experience in year 10 and it taught me nothing. Working in a Newsagent on Saturdays at 16 was far more useful as it was actual, you know, work.

Birdsgottafly Wed 14-Feb-18 11:04:27

My DD was floundering about what she wanted to do.

Her placement was in Childcare and it put her on the path of a Career. She has just done a HNC (after level 3) because she doesn't want to commit to a degree but knows that she wants to work with Children and possibly families.

Both my other DDs have got jobs out of their work experience, I know plenty if other teens who've focused themselves because they know were they don't want to work.

Employers need to get onboard more, though.

Nomad86 Wed 14-Feb-18 11:04:48

I was offered a weeks placement at a small law firm. The first day, the solicitor spent an hour telling me a bit about the job and how to go about choosing a specialism etc. All very useful. Then she said that she could only really give me menial tasks as everything that I could learn from was confidential. She signed my timesheet for a full week and said I could take the rest of the week off.

BewareOfDragons Wed 14-Feb-18 11:06:28

YANBU. We are not there yet, as my oldest is only in Y8 at the moment, but I don't want him wasting his time doing fuck all, frankly, when he could be at school revising and working. He is predicted to do really, really well across the board and he already has a full schedule outside of school, too, so I am not keen for him to do something pointless for 4 weeks.

BadPolicy Wed 14-Feb-18 11:06:40

I found my work experience immensley valuable, I thought I wanted to work with children. I do not.

But if it's so poorly organised it probably is making it difficult to see the value.

Birdsgottafly Wed 14-Feb-18 11:08:10

"I did work experience in year 10 and it taught me nothing. Working in a Newsagent on Saturdays at 16 was far more useful as it was actual, you know, work."

In a lot of regions, work for under 17's doesn't exist.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 14-Feb-18 11:09:32

Mine was pretty fun.

However I'm pretty sure they broke the law and i did things i shouldn't have done. It wouldn't have been as much fun without them though.

I also had a really shit placement wjere I was ignored, frozen out, they'd shut the door so I couldn't go in and help out with the other girl ,

Was horrible

LifeBeginsAtGin Wed 14-Feb-18 11:10:48

Expecting them to gain work experience being a solicitor or accountant or a nurse is not going to happen. We live in a litigious culture and have many rules around confidentiality and data protection that business can not provide the true experience the kids want. Therefore they have to work on the reception desk, answering the phone or photo copying.

They will however benefit from the soft skills such as time keeping, customer service, problem solving and developing a work ethic.

It is also good to be able to put on a CV should they want to get a little weekend job in the future.

Lucymek Wed 14-Feb-18 11:11:32

It's actually not.

I left school didn't go to college as I wanted an apprecticeship. I didn't have any work experience apart from my two weeks one during school. So all of the interview questions were competency style based ones.

E.g. Tell me about a time you had to do a challenging task.

I don't think they would have appreciated me telling them about having to put my own washing away at home!

Luckily as I did my work experience I could use examples from that.

Lucymek Wed 14-Feb-18 11:12:22


I did mine at a law firm/accountants. I got to go to court three times with the solicitor?

Blaablaablaa Wed 14-Feb-18 11:13:28

The governments new careers strategy for school's places a strong emphasis on young people having a number of encounters with employers as evidence shows a correlation between these encounters and future earnings. This is especially evident for 14-15 year olds.
Obviously it's great if they can do something related to future career ideas but that's not always possible. It's still a valuable experience to learn about the world of work.
However, I think some schools may be taking this too literally as encounters with employers can include the employers visiting the schools to give talks, act as mentors etc

Todayissunny Wed 14-Feb-18 11:14:03

This is interesting. I am not sure if you are ABU or not.
In Switzerland where I live only 30% of kids go onto full time education after the 9th school year (leaving 9th school year at 15 -16 y.o.). The rest go on to do apprenticeships. It sems to be a very successful way of getting kids the right skills for jobs/professions on the market. My 12 year old in 7th scool year is already been to a jobs fair and is being actively encouraged to think about what he wants to do for his apprenticeship. Next school year he will start doing work experience which should help him decide what he wants to apply for.
So - if child is going to leave school at 16 then it makes sense but if the child will definitely stay in FT education then it could be too early to bring any benefits.

chloesmumtoo Wed 14-Feb-18 11:14:20

For my two dc's work experience was useless on both occassions. Was a real shame and a disappointment. No effort really made for them and as far as my ds was concerned it turned out to be everything i said it wouldn't. The employer asked him and the another child to bring in their hand held game consoles to amuse themselves hmm
I know it cant be easy for employers by all means as they dont get anything out of it and yes the children are young.
As for the schools in ends up being a lot of hassle as well as for us parents trying to help our dc's find somewhere. It didn't work for us. Maybe it does for others.
Dd will be doing it all again in further education next year but will be more linked to course subject so fingers crossed for a more successful week.

Merryoldgoat Wed 14-Feb-18 11:14:42

Birds - I wasn’t saying ‘go get a job at 16’ - more that when I got an ACTUAL job I started to learn.

I know plenty of successful people who got their first job much older than me.

I’m sure there can be useful placements if the provider buys in, but this seems to be unusual.

FranticallyPeaceful Wed 14-Feb-18 11:16:52

I still remember being excited for work experience in school... and in the end it was two weeks of the most boring mundane shite on the planet. It’s never proper work experience because they just fob the shit jobs off on you anyway

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 14-Feb-18 11:20:03


I honestly don't know why there isn't some kind of list in each school of places that the kids have been to where the feed back was very negative and the kids subsequently told not to bother.

Or why employers don't have some kind of intro pack to send to the schools to show what they will be doing.

There will obviously be limits as to what they can do. And there will be boring parts.


Those limits and boring parts can be dealt with if people take the time to explain what they do, allow observations, interact with the students and generally take the time with them.

They shouldn't be allowed to get away witg soley cleaning back rooms, going on food runs, and alphabetising paperwork from 1847.

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