We are here to help you make those all-important choices by offering you impartial, individual Information Advice and Guidance (IAG) to enable you to make informed decisions about planning for your future.
Careers Advice is available for our current, past and potential students. We have qualified Careers Advisors who can provide you with confidential IAG to help you with your chosen career options if you know what they are or help you find them if you do not!
You can find that all important IAG from your Work placement & Career Coordinator (WP&CC), the Learning Resource Specialists (based in the LRC’s) or from Ann Compton, the Careers and Destinations Manager, based in the King's Lynn campus.
We can help you to:
- Explore career options & progression routes
- Build your skills for Interviews
- Marketing yourself in the digital age
- Create an effective CV/profile
- Your digital reputation
- Identify your key strengths, skills and areas for development
- Search for jobs/ apply for a job
- Labour market information
- Identify your key strengths and skills
- Employability & interview skills
- University choices and higher education
- UCAS personal statements
Work experience and industry placements with the College of West Anglia
Work experience placements are typically smaller periods of time for placement in a workplace whereas Industry placements are becoming increasing defined as substantive (over 315 hours) placement in an academic year. Both are a key component of our full time students’ learning programmes at CWA, though most students will be completing 30 hours as a minimum in placement this academic year. In some course areas work experience placements have long been a key element of the qualification being studied. However, in response to strong messages from employers, government guidelines now state that all students are expected to undertake some form of work experience or work-related training as part of their study programme. That is why we have a dedicated team of Work Placement & Careers Coordinators to support our students to achieve that part of their study programme.
The excellent teaching and learning facilities provided at CWA, will support the students to achieve the academic qualifications to support their progression into Higher Education or employment but qualifications alone will not enable a young person to become “work ready” as we cannot totally replicate a true working environment in a classroom.
Meaningful and challenging placements will enable students to develop vital skills, known as the “soft skills” in readiness for employment. These include teamwork, communication, using initiative and being adaptable. Those and more, are essential skills to help students prepare to make the next step on their career path. It bridges the gap between education and the world of work.
High quality placements need to be relevant to the programme of study they are following at CWA where-ever possible. It is an important taste for the world of work and enables the students to get a sense of whether they are making the right career choices.
Why employers should offer a work placement?
Work placements are a great way to introduce students (potential future employees) to the way in which companies operates. They can provide an insight into various different industry pathways open to students, as well as the specific skills and qualities required by organisations.
Work placements can help to attract and shape future workforce. They can also help raise the profile of a company amongst students, staff, parents and the local community.
Work placements can help provide a possible insight into how an apprenticeship, or other college training, could be incorporated into a companies’ future recruitment plan.
Work placements can help contribute towards the Continuing Professional Development of existing employees, through the planning, supervision and training of work placement students.
How employers could prepare for a work placement?
If a company/organisation or self-employed person is interested in providing a work placement for a CWA student, they must first consider if it is logistically viable for their company, and then plan accordingly.
It is important to consider the physical and psychological capabilities of students. They will not be as experienced as existing employees or apprentices. It is vital to take this into account when planning tasks for work placement students. It is also important to consider legal age requirements in certain industry sectors.
The student is required to be supervised sufficiently throughout the placement. Some companies will assign a member of staff to be responsible for the student at all times during the placement.
Health and Safety requirements
Health and safety is the most important aspect to consider before and during a student’s work placement. The government has laid out guidelines to make the process as straightforward as possible for employers.
According to law, a work experience student is officially classed as an employee of the company for the duration of the work placement. As a result, the company is required to hold a current, up to date Employer’s Liability Insurance certificate. A college representative will be required to obtain the details of this prior to the work placement. (NB. If the work placement student is an immediate family member then a Public Liability Insurance Certificate may be sufficient)
A college representative will visit your company to carry out a brief health and safety pre-placement assessment prior to the work placement starting. As soon as all the health and safety checks have been successfully completed, the work placement can be confirmed and a start date arranged.
You must provide the student with both a company induction and a health and safety induction on the first day of the work placement. These should cover things such as start, finish and break times, company expectations and a full explanation of health and safety rules and regulations.
The college will provide the student with an induction checklist to be completed and signed by the employer on the first day. The college will also provide a form for the student to record their hours and obtain feedback from the employer at the end of the placement.
What to do next?
If you are interested in providing a work placement for a student at CWA, or have any further questions regarding work placements, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What is the process of the work placement?
For more detailed process of what happens, take a look at this flowchart.
Information for parents/guardians supporting their student with work experience
As mentioned already, work placement is a key component of all students study programme, therefore it is an expectation that this will be completed in a positive manner. You can help by providing some suggestions as to which employers your young person might approach to request work experience placements.
Work placement should take place with an external employer, and ideally on a site that is external to the learning environment. As it is a planned part of their study programme, paid part time work cannot be taken into consideration. Students often think their part time work does count as funded work experience but this is not the case because the main purpose is for the student to earn money, not the learning.
Students should not consider working in a family/friends business or place of employment to be a suitable work placement experience. The placement should provide them with a meaningful opportunity whereby they can experience the real demands of the working environment, independent from their peers, family, friends or tutors.
CWA also supports work experience or industry placements that are typically within 40 miles of the campus that they are attending.
All students are expected to make a log of their learning whilst on placement, how this is to be completed is dependent upon the course of study the student is on. For the majority they will be using the college work placement diary for this purpose, please do look at what they are writing in their diaries and encourage them to make sure they keep it about them whilst at placement.
We at CWA enthusiastically want all of our students to be successful in their future career options and this is just one of the steps we are supporting them to make to enable that success to happen.
In December 2017, the Department for Education produced the Career Strategy. In this strategy the recommendations for all schools and colleges to follow the Gatsby Benchmarks were highly recommended, we at CWA have embarked on achieving the 8 benchmarks. For more information click here.
To see how we at CWA are embedding the Gatsby Benchmarks, please click here.
Our careers team:
- Ann Compton, Careers and Destination Manager
- Lucy Nethsingha, Governor
Click here to see our CWA Career Programme for 2020/2021.
For our career strategy please click here.