Quick-Fire Chats with Wesleyan: A New Way of Supporting Work Experience

Work experience is a critical first step into the working world for young people, broadening their understanding of various industries, shaping their career decisions and developing their employability skills in a risk-free environment.

Work experience now forms an integral part of 16 to 19-year-olds’ study programmes, but currently only 27% of employers are offering this opportunity to early talent. This often comes down to overly-bureaucratic and burdensome arrangements that provide little value to the student, or the employer.

Louise Beards is the Early Careers Partner at Wesleyan, and she has recently redesigned Wesleyan’s work experience scheme to provide students with much more than just shadowing opportunities. Louise believes the scheme should give students meaningful and inspiring experience across a variety of areas in the business, to start off their career the right way.

Louise will join In-house Recruitment Live Manchester on 9th May 2019 to talk about shaping an Early Careers programme. Ahead of her presentation, we sat down with Louise to dive into her topic a bit more. For your chance to hear Louise’s story in full, you can register to attend In-house Recruitment Live Manchester for free below but be quick, as spaces are limited!

How did Wesleyan’s Early Careers work experience programme come about?

Our previous work experience programme used to be very ad hoc and lacked the appropriate structure. So when we decided to review the scheme last year we thought about the different things we could do, the diverse places we could source our talent from and how we could provide them with a meaningful experience, not just asking them to shadow our teams for an entire week.

Before I became Early Careers Partner, we didn’t have anyone with the sole responsibility of overseeing our work experience scheme. I now own the entire scheme from start to finish, making sure the students who join can get the best from their time with us.

What type of audience are you targeting?

Our cohorts are made up of A-level students. We’re looking to increase our representation so we’re targeting schools with students of diverse ethnic backgrounds. We want to introduce them to a variety of subjects, so they can understand the different types of roles they can explore in their career, from marketing to HR and IT.

What does the current programme look like?

We are welcoming 7 cohorts of students this year. On the first day we take them through induction, introduce them to the different areas of the business and give them a chance to ask questions about us. We then run CV workshops, personal brand presentations, interview technique training and at the end of the week each student will put together a presentation about their experience and learnings with us.

What happens at the end of their week at Wesleyan?

We keep in contact with all students following the end of their work experience, giving them an opportunity to enter our apprenticeship programme. We put all our applicants through the same process, whether they had work experience with us or not.

Our apprenticeship scheme provides training and support and a personal mentor for every apprentice, giving them hands-on experience across the business, as they work towards a qualification and a permanent role with us.

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