Rejuvenating our work experience programme

Liz Faulkner

09 / 12 / 2015 4.43pm

In her second blog instalment Liz Faulkner, workforce transformation manager at Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust tells us how her team have been busier than Santa’s elves, as they gear up for Christmas and continue to rejuvenate their work experience programme.

I didn't realise how much we’d done until I sat down to write this blog, how far we've come since the beginning of November!

You will recall (from my previous blog) that our team has taken responsibility for work experience programmes in the trust. We were hoping to complete the following actions by Christmas:

  • send a questionnaire to all managers to see who’s doing working experience in their departments
  • find out what work experience managers/departments can offer moving forward and for what length of time
  • draft a new organisational policy for work experience before Christmas.

We’re still working on these actions, and they’re coming along nicely as you will see! 

Firstly, the questionnaire was sent out to around 150 managers who were responsible for work experience programmes in their department. We asked questions such as what work experience placements do you already offer? And what work experience placements could you offer in the future? We got around 45 responses, a little less than we’d hoped for, but the information that was received back from respondents was really great. We can now see more clearly where we’re at with work experience programmes, so that we have something to benchmark progress against in the future.  A pleasant surprise from the survey results was the variety of departments that engaged with us and were prepared to host work experience placements, many more than I expected! 

This really shows that our staff see the benefits of providing work experience placements in their departments and are committed to making space for them. Some managers highlighted concerns about providing placements for under 18s. This is due to common misconceptions about the legal restrictions associated with employing young people, which is not a surprise. This confirms that we need to think about how we inform managers to bust myths, and make them feel more comfortable with providing placements for younger people. This is something we’ll aim to look at further in 2016. 

With regards to our organisational policy on work experience we’re very keen to align this with Health Education England’s work experience toolkit.  There is currently a gap in our policy for those undertaking longer work experience placements e.g. one day a week over a year to gain experience whilst undertaking training programmes. The question being are these work experience placements or are they volunteer placements? Also, people looking for this kind of placement tend to go directly to managers rather than through the workforce transformation team. We need to communicate what our policy is going to be moving forward, and introduce processes which are fit for purpose and support the policy.

Going forward into the New Year we’re going to be working on three tasks: 

  • consolidating the results from the managers survey 
  • finalising the new draft organisational policy and sending this out to managers for review and feedback
  • hosting six pre-employment placements in conjunction with the Princes Trust. Working with managers to get a good structure in place whilst young people are on placement.

Have a wonderful Christmas and watch this space for an update in the New Year on how we’re getting on.

Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust will be writing regular blogs on their progress to reform their work experience programmes. If you would like to share your organisation’s story of how they are working towards bringing more young people in, then contact the ThinkFuture team at

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