When it comes to getting the right job, we want to make sure Northampton College students stand out from the crowd. In addition to success in your studies, our aim is to involve you in events and activities that develop your skills and experience in preparation for employment and the world of work. Work experience will stand out on your CV and can give your employability a huge boost.
All students (aged below 19 on the 31st of August during enrolment) must complete an element of work experience as a part of Study Programme. This is a directive from the Department for Education and one Northampton College believes enhances our students’ learning and prepares them for future employment.
Why is Work Experience important for students?
Work experience is a taster of the world of work. For many students, this will be their first experience of working and an opportunity to improve their employability skills is key to finding employment in the future.
Work Experience is the best way to get a real sense of a chosen industry and to also check it is definitely something a student wishes to pursue in the future; it will give students the opportunity without commitment. It is worth noting that many employers ask for previous experience and if students have not had a job they will look to see what work experience they have undertaking. Doing work experience also shows passion and interest to future employers.
When do students go on work experience?
Work experience placements can take place at any time during the academic year depending on the course of study. There may be set times/weeks during the year where students are on a work experience placement or it could be fitted around the days when students are not attending college. Work experience placements are not always 9am - 5pm.
Where can students complete their work experience?
Ideally, work experience placements should be with a business/organisation closely matching what is being studied, and although we strive to gain as many vocationally relevant opportunities as possible for our students, this is not always possible. Some areas of work experience are difficult to source placements due to health and safety issues and in these instances, a ‘close match’ would be acceptable. For example, it is difficult to place a 16-year-old on a construction site so a placement with a builder’s merchant would be acceptable.
How are placements organised?
Students are supported in organising their work experience by our dedicated work experience staff or are able to find their own placements if they are able to. Additionally, students in some of the college creative courses such as Art & Design may be commissioned to complete external project work on behalf on an organisation.
As part of the reformed technical education route Northampton College is taking part in the industry placement pilot, as part of the implementation of the new T-Level technical study programmes. Industry placements will equip students with the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to enter employment or progress to further technical training/apprenticeships.
What do students gain from completing industry placements?
Industry placements should be purposeful, substantial, offer challenge and be relevant to the student’s study programme and career aspirations. It should have a structured plan for the duration of the placement, focusing on the skills required for that area and be followed up by some form of reference/feedback from the employer based on the students’ performance.
Students are required to complete an industry placement log book when on placement as many skills learned during the placement can be put onto a CV for future use in looking for a job/apprenticeship. Students will also be required to engage in reviews on progress and achievement throughout the placement.
Industry placement components:
- Level 3 technical study programme.
- Duration of one to two years depending on specific course requirements.
- Include a substantial vocationally relevant placement lasting 50 days/325 hours spread across either one or two years.