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Adult Zone - Work Experience

Children are routinely offered the chance to do a work experience placement while they are at school. For many young people work placement gives them valuable experience and the chance to experience the reality of the world of work. Those arranging and those offering work experience have duties towards your child and your child has rights.

This information is intended to give you some idea of what these duties and rights are. We cannot tell you everything here, so if you want further information please contact us at 0131 667 6333 Mon.- Fri. 9.30 – 4.00 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This information is correct as of July 2012, but law is liable to change

What should you know about work experience before your child starts?

Your child should know:

1. Where they are going and how they are getting there and back. The place that your child will be going to for work experience is not responsible for providing your child with transport there and back, nor for paying for public transport.

2. The name and contact details of the person who has arranged the work experience; it might be school staff or someone from another organisation. Make sure that your child is given their contact details and that he or she takes the details with them to work experience in case he or she has a problem. People who arrange work experience should have special training first.

3. The name of the person who will be responsible for training and supervising your child, and the name of the person they should report to on arrival.

4. Any health and safety advice or issues. (see the section on health and safety)

1. Should someone from the school or organisation arranging work experience visit the workplace before my child starts?

A visit is not a legal requirement but is strongly recommended. A visit is an excellent opportunity for health and safety and child protection issues to be fully considered with your employer before your child starts work.

2. What about health and safety issues?

All workplaces are supposed to be safe and all employers with more than 5 employees must have written health and safety policies. Any workplace taking young people for work experience should do a risk assessment. You should be told about it if there are any risks, and so should your child. Your child has the right to ask to see the health and safety policies. They will be expected to follow them; if they don't and it appears to the employer that they are putting themselves or others at risk the work experience may be ended.

3. What about child protection?

No employer should knowingly allow your child to work with anyone who has been banned from working with children. Not all employees at an organisation that provides work experience must be disclosure checked or registered with the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme. However, the person who is regularly responsible for training or supervising the child should have a criminal record check. You could ask the person responsible for arranging the placement if this has been done, and if the workplace has a child protection policy.

If your child is particularly vulnerable, for example:

  • They are under 16
  • They have difficulties with school work or behaviour
  • They have problems at home
  • Placement is longer than 15 days and your child is likely to be working regularly:
    • With only 1 adult
    • In a remote place
    • While travelling
    • Your child is likely to be staying away overnight

Then you should speak to the person in charge of arranging the placement. Find out if the person has child protection training and find out what steps are being taken to ensure that child is protected.

For more information contact

4. What about fair treatment?

The employer is responsible for looking after your child at work, and that includes making sure that the child is treated fairly. Your child should not be treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability. They are entitled to the same workplace protection as paid employees.

5. What kind of work can my child do or not do?

Your child can do many kinds of work but some work is considered to be too hazardous, or the child is considered to be too young to undertake. These include:

    • bar work
    • operating dangerous machinery such as sawing machines or cranes
    • driving a tractor or forklift truck
    • working with hazardous substances

The person arranging the work experience should know what the child can safely do. If you are concerned about the nature of the work your child will be doing you should discuss it with that person.

6. If my child has a disability does that mean that they cannot undertake a work placement?

No. Your child has the same right to job opportunities as everyone else. The important thing is that their individual needs are taken into account. The work placement will need to be at an establishment that is accessible for them, and involve work that they can manage. They should also get suitable support throughout the placement.

The employer may need to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace, but it is more likely that the person arranging work placement will seek a suitable workplace.

The person arranging the work placement should be experienced and fully aware of your child's needs. The employer's risk assessment should take the child's individual needs into account and the child should have support during the placement.

7. What if my child has an accident on work placement?

It is pretty unusual for young people to be injured during work placement, but sometimes accidents do happen. If it is the fault of the work place then they may have to compensate the young person.

Should your child be unfortunate enough to be injured while on work placement you would be well advised to consult a solicitor for advice as to whether your child has a claim, and how best to proceed. It is likely that your child will be the client rather than that you will take action, but you can support your child while the discussions take place and help them with any decisions.

The person arranging the work placement should check that the employer has proper insurance in place before the placement starts. This usually just requires the employer to tell their insurers that they will be hosting work placements.

You can ask the school to let you know what the insurance covers. If you think that there is good reason why further insurance be taken out you should discuss this with the school as they may be able to take out further insurance.

Where else can I find out about this?

You could try