It’s a new year, time for a new challenge perhaps? Starting work for the first time or even starting a new job/career can be a very daunting prospect, but it’s time to flip that on its head and look at it as an exciting new challenge.
In 2018 Jehu Group are focusing on quality work placements not quantity. It’s time for employers to start offering work placements that are structured and provide invaluable experience for people facing barriers to work.
Gwilym Hughes, HR & Strategic Business Manager at Jehu commented: “For many younger people the opportunity of a work experience placement is their first step into a professional working environment, which is obviously a daunting prospect. We put thought and effort into considering how they will be feeling in the weeks and days prior to their placement and do our best to provide the type of information which will help make the experience a positive one from the start and not an ordeal to be endured.”
In November 2017 Jehu welcomed Francesca Davies, a student at Bryntirion Comprehensive, to undertake a week’s work experience within the Commercial Department. Fran who is hoping to apply to university to undertake a degree in Quantity Surveying is currently studying A levels in Geography, Information Computing Technology, Welsh Baccalaureate and has already obtained a qualification in BTEC Sport.
It was Fran who contacted Jehu about doing a work placement, she wanted to gain experience within the construction industry and in particular develop her knowledge of Quantity Surveying.
A survey carried out by the Department of Working Pensions identified; more than 80% of young people felt they were more attractive to employers following work experience or an employer-led placement. It also recognised that more than 40% of young people who took part in a work experience placement had got a job since the placement.
During Fran’s placement at Jehu she spent her time with the QS Team, visiting sites and attending a variety of meetings such as a Project Team Meeting and Pre-let meeting at the Park Road site in Gorseinon. This £3.6m scheme for Housing Associations, Coastal Housing and First Choice is a residential development consisting of one and two-bedroom flats and a 4-bedroom bungalow.
Owen Hagger, Senior Quantity Surveyor at Jehu buddied Fran during her placement, Owen commented: “During Fran’s week we made sure her week was structured that she had some real work to do and that she wasn’t just shadowing people so that she could really understand what a role of a QS is.”
Fran found that visiting the sites enabled her ‘to see the plans in development and the complications that can occur with the sub-contractors and the building design. Fran said: “I’ve found my time at Jehu to be beneficial and now have a better understanding of the role of a QS and the opportunities available. I’d like to thank everyone at Jehu for the experience and their welcoming nature.”
Gwilym Hughes also said: “During placements we cover everything from dress code, lunch arrangements, buddying them up with an employee and providing a detailed timetable of their placement to help them prepare. Whenever possible we arrange a brief visit in the weeks prior, showing where they will be sat in the office and some quick introductions in advance of the first day. We find this level of planning allows for a more relaxed start to the placement and helps the young person better enjoy their time with us – we want them to enjoy the experience after all.”
The City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development produced a report in 2011 called Transforming Work Experience into Work Inspiration. Stephen Howard, former Chief Executive of Business in the Community stated: “Work experience can often be a wasted opportunity. Bringing a young person into your workplace should be a chance to inspire and engage them and an opportunity to involve colleagues across the organisation.”
So, for Jehu it’s not rocket science, having a well co-ordinated work placement programme can be key to an individual’s success. Work experience participants are 16% more likely to be off benefits than similar non-participants 21 weeks after starting a placement and around 75% of work experience participants said it had provided them with new skills and increased their confidence.