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 and during the last academic year 36 companies offered work experience to selected students from their partnering school. We speak with Tally Slater, from Boots in Limerick about her experience of having work experience students in the store and Eileen Fitzgerald, S@W, Programme Coordinator examines the benefits of such work experience.

Eleanor Walsh, Regional Coordinator spoke with Tally, Boots, William Street, Limerick

What do you think of having work experience students in the store?Business in the Community Ireland

It’s great to be able to give students a real insight into the roles that are available in Boots, as well as letting the students know what is expected of them in the work place by being able to experience it hands on.

How “work ready” are the students?

It varies from individual to individual, but we generally see a strong work ethic and most students want to engage with our customers, although a few have wanted to hide! Over the years, some of our work experience students have gone on to fill some Christmas positions, so it can really help to open up new opportunities for them.

What would you say to prospective work experience students?

It is really important that the student themselves come into us and not to get their parents to apply for the position for them. We want to see the personality of the person who will work alongside us for the week!

Have you any advice for students?

To remember that when you are in the store, that it is a job and not just a week off school; so to get the most out of it, it is important to be a team player, working alongside all members of the team and not just looking to work with the manager. In Boots we work as a team and everyone’s feedback is equally valued.

Tally from Boots gives us a good insight, but what’s in it for companies?

While work experience offers obvious benefits for students, companies comment that their employees also 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 while providing opportunities to improve delegation, communication and leadership skills. It’s also a way for companies to influence future career choices by attracting young people to the sector, such as highlighting STEM and apprenticeships. The working world is changing so fast, it’s a challenge for students to stay informed about new technologies and evolving careers.

Companies who step up to support young people through work experience programmes are to be commended for their foresight and generosity. Their story is a good news story and Business in the Community would like to highlight and encourage more companies to follow their lead.