Working with the right school, college or other provider
When it comes to supporting industry placements, the education provider (school or college) plays a pivotal role.
You, the provider, and the student will need an effective partnership to successfully design, deliver and complete an industry placement.
You may already know providers if you have apprenticeships or already offer work experience. Ask them what plans they have for industry placements and T Levels. Links with local providers are useful if you recruit locally, because they are likely to have students who live within easy travelling distance.
If you don't already have relationships with providers, you can:
- search for a local T Level school or college
- contact organisations like the Chartered Institute for Professional Development (CIPD), Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Institute of Directors (IoD), trades unions, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Chambers of Commerce. Professional bodies and trade organisations in your industry may also be able to help.
- ask other organisations if they can recommend a school or college
It can be useful to start a relationship with a school or college before you're ready to offer a placement:
“By establishing a relationship with the provider and students, perhaps by giving updates or briefings in college, offering staff and student workplace tours and other forms of workplace experience. This will not only provide up to date, relevant information but will promote the employer as an employer of choice for work placements and future employment”.
Farnborough College of Technology
Support you can expect from the provider
The provider is responsible for helping you to deliver a safe, high quality industry placement. They will equip the student with appropriate technical knowledge as well as the employability skills for the workplace.
In addition to delivering quality training which matches the placement role and preparing students for the placement, they’ll work with you and the student:
- on a realistic recruitment process
- to find a suitable placement model (for example, block or day release) that suits everyone
- to make sure the placement is monitored and safe for the student
Before the placement
The provider will:
- carry out required health and safety checks
- make sure required safeguarding checks and procedures are in place
- support you to understand the correct levels of insurance required
- work with you to capture the detail of the placement arrangement in a formal plan that defines the learning goals and objectives for the student
"We work closely with Preston College to make sure that the students are suitable for the placement that we are providing. Once the job description has been drawn up, the college will then put that out to the students. So, most of the application process happens at college."
Catherine Ashcroft, the Eric Wright Group
During the placement
Throughout the placement there will be regular communication and support from the provider for you and your students. Your teams will be providing supervision and mentoring support for the students.
The provider will:
- monitor the placement, agreeing the frequency and timing of monitoring visits or calls for both you and the student
- plan and carry out regular reviews with the student and supervisor to monitor progress against the placement plan and any questions or concerns can be raised and addressed
- carry out formal mid-placement and end-of-placement reviews to capture learning and provide feedback to the student
After the placement
At the end of each placement, you might want to review the work placement experience from all parties’ point of view to identify successes, lessons learned and areas for improvement.
It will be useful to gather views from staff who supported different aspects of the placement to provide a rounded picture.
To support this review and learning, your provider may facilitate or contribute to an end-of-placement review with the student. This can be a great way to reflect on the student’s experience, to learn lessons and consider next steps for all parties.
A review with your provider after the student placement has ended may provide a different form of discussion about what did and did not work.
This review may help you decide whether your organisation will offer future work placements, perhaps extending to other areas of your organisation, or whether you want to stay in touch with the student for future experience or job opportunities.
Questions to discuss with the provider
Use these questions as the basis for conversations with colleges or schools you might work with on industry placements:
- We’re interested in offering industry placements. Will you be delivering T Levels and/or other courses in the routes or occupations that we’re interested in?
- How can we work together to decide on the best placement model (for example, day release, block release, mixed approach)?
- If we want placements to happen at a specific time in the year, can you work with us to accommodate this (for example, in the summer holidays)?
- We want students who are a good match with the placements we’re offering – how will you work with us to select the right students (for example, meet them informally, look at their CVs, formal interview)?
- We have some ideas ourselves about how the placement could work – how will you help us design it?
- How will you work with us to support students when they are in their placements with us?
- We understand there’s some paperwork to do for industry placements – will you provide templates and checklists for us to use (for example, induction, health and safety, progress reviews)?
- What checks will you do to make sure the placement is going well, and how would you involve us in them?
- How will you help us understand what each student is doing with you? For example, the content of their course, how the industry placement fits into their course, how you review their progress, and, any progress they’ve made so far that will be relevant to their industry placement with us?
- How will you prepare students for the placement in advance (for example, behaviours expected of them, importance of turning up on time)?
- If we take on students with special educational needs, disabilities or mental health requirements, how will you help us design the placement so that it takes account of their needs?
If you're interested in offering an industry placement, get in touch with T Level providers near you.