Inspiring Work Experience

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Every year, thousands of young students from transition year and 5th year take part in BITCI’s Skills @ Work (S@W) programme. Eileen Fitzgerald, S@W, Programme Coordinator examines how participating companies could provide an opportunity for students to gain work experience. We also hear from Student, Thomond College, Limerick who took part in a work experience programme with Limerick Institute of Technology.

Benefits to Students

Firstly it has to be well planned and structured involving a diversity of tasks.  Input from everyone is important to match the needs of the students and the company which helps set realistic expectations, especially for the students.  Quality work experience is hugely beneficial as it offers an opportunity to experience the workplace, learn about careers and interact with individuals from a variety of disciplines. During the last academic year 2016/2017, 36 S@W companies offered work experience to selected students from their partnering school. Student feedback tells us that personal development and improved confidence top the list of benefits but X, a fifth year student from Thomond College has more to tell….

Story of work experience

Benefits to the Company

Companies often comment that their employees learn so much from supporting students and recognize the satisfaction that this kind of engagement brings. Encouraging a young person to develop a new skill has a feel good factor that lifts morale and team spirit.  Opening the doors to the school raises a companies’ profile in the community. Companies can influence future career choices by attracting young people to the sector, such as highlighting STEM and apprenticeships. By engaging students through work experience, employers can influence the quality of future employees. Schools and students rely on the willingness of companies to provide work experience and the S@W Programme offers the perfect opportunity.