18th October 2018
Each year, our Shell pupils are given the opportunity to venture out in to the real world for one week to gain some work experience. It has always been a fundamental segment of our curriculum for Year 11. In the past, work experience was always carried out in the week before Michaelmas half term. It has been decided, in the best interests of the girls, to change the work experience week to the summer holidays, after the girls have finished their GCSE exams. One of the reasons for this is that it is becoming harder and harder for girls under 16 years of age to be taken on for work experience in most of the areas and arenas that they are interested in. It may seem early days to be organising something for the end of June/beginning of July 2019, but there is much important and valuable groundwork to be done by the girls to prepare themselves for seeking a placement and, eventually, a job. The sooner some thought is given to what experience might be wished for and then available, the better.
Pupils, in consultation with their parents and the school, are expected to make their own arrangements to find work experience placements. Work experience is a marvellous opportunity for the girls at any point in their education. We live in an age where the pace of change is rapid. It may be that they find they have to change their direction of work several times before settling on one path. At this stage, work experience may not necessarily be in an area that the girls are thinking of as a future career but the experience should be looked upon as an opportunity to develop a skills set to take to any job in the future. They may look for something more in keeping with their hobbies or something completely offside! The important thing is that the emphasis must be placed on the preparation and the experience.
Although it may seem convenient for your daughter to spend this week working for family or friends, it will be far more beneficial to her future if you help her look for her own placement outside of this comfort zone, and that she takes this opportunity with both hands to develop yet another aspect of her persona. There is a huge amount of information on the web and we will be asking the girls to do some research before they consider writing their applications. We also have lists of placements found by past Shell students and would be very happy to give girls the details of potential providers.
The girls will now begin the process of learning how to construct a Curriculum Vitae, which will showcase their aptitudes and skills to a future employer. At the beginning of next term they will be asked to finalise them with all pertinent information. Girls should therefore be ready and equipped to start their applications during the second half of term, if not before. They have been asked to keep files/folders in which they should keep records of information, documents and correspondence. We would appreciate your support in ensuring that they do so. When they have their placement confirmed, they should enter all information on a form that should be returned to me at the earliest opportunity.
Due to the very stringent regulations now governing employment of students, you will find that there will be various businesses who will not be able or not willing to offer work experience. This is another very good reason to start the search early. As soon as I have been given the full details, I will be writing to the provider with a Risk Assessment Form for them to complete covering checks such as health and safety, insurance cover and security by the providers to ensure the wellbeing of your daughter.
Last but not least, if you are in the position to be able to offer work experience in your field or company to any of our girls, they and I would be very grateful to learn of the opportunity.
Lesley J Henk
Work Experience Coordinator