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Work related learning prepares young people for life after school, helping them develop the skills and attitudes they will need to become responsible citizens, successful learners, confident individuals, and effective contributors to the workplace and to society.

The term “Work Experience”  or “Experience of Work” is now being used to describe much more than a work placement towards the end of secondary education. “Work Experience”  now involves learning through work, about work and for work, at all ages from 3 to 18. With Curriculum for Excellence, the introduction to the world of work can start in the early years with, for example,  visits to work environments or visits from employers.

Work related learning provides opportunities for young people to experience a real or simulated working environment, acquire vocational and other work skills, understand and conform to the demands of different workplaces,  acquire employability skills such as good timekeeping, customer care, health and safety, teamwork and reliability.  It should allow young people to experience work safely and constructively, and be integral to their education.

A number of these courses constitute Experience of Work. Examples would be Hospitality and Travel & Tourism (where a work placement is included).  Thus pupils undertaking a Skills for Work vocational course, with a clearly defined work placement as part of the course, may not require to undertake a separate work experience placement.

The Highland Council policy outlines the role and responsibilities of the partnerships involved in work experience.  Section 8 below details the role of the school.  For full details please contact David Humphris, Guidance on 01456 459134.

Section 8 - Key Points for Schools

Tasks may be allocated differently in individual schools, but the Head Teacher or his/her nominated Depute must take overall responsibility for all Work Based Learning.

Schools must provide a Senior Phase curriculum which gives pupils a range of  opportunities to experience working life and to gain employability and other work related skills.  Special consideration should be given to the needs of pupils with Additional Support Needs.

Schools must involve pupils in their choice of work placement, and support them to build work related learning around their career aspirations and goals.

Schools should provide opportunities for pupils to learn about the national and local economy, and the expectations of employers.

Schools should develop partnerships with employers to help them contextualise and enhance pupils’ work related learning.

Schools must ensure that the Authority is made aware of placements timeously so that relevant health and safety checks can be made prior to authorising the placement.  No placement should go ahead without agreement being reached.

Schools must prepare pupils for work experience and they should be given opportunities for reflection and review following the placement.

Schools must support pupils on extended placements, and maintain contact with the pupil and the employer.