Work experience is inspected and reported on as an integral part of the inspection of provision for 16 to 19 year olds (and up to age 24 for traineeships) against the Common Inspection Framework for FE and Skills 2012.
Ofsted state that work experience must be purposeful and planned. It should give young people the opportunity to develop vocational and employability skills in real working conditions.
Work experience should contribute to students’ overall development. For example, when considering outcomes for students, inspectors will explore how well they can develop their employability and vocational skills and personal effectiveness (e.g. attendance, attitudes, punctuality, and behaviour) in relation to their starting points while on work experience.
Similarly, when inspecting teaching, learning and assessment inspectors will explore how well students on work experience have been prepared beforehand, the tasks they are set and whether they receive detailed feedback on their progress.
The inspection of leadership and management will evaluate the extent to which work experience is purposeful for each student, how well it fits into the other aspects of their study programme and that appropriate steps have been taken by the employers to provide a safe environment.
Work experience in providers’ realistic working environments, such as college companies provide good opportunities for students to develop initial vocational skills, knowledge and employability skills. However, this should not be seen as an alternative to external work experience, especially if work experience is a substantial part of their programme.
Students can often get employer references for their performance on work experience and realistic working environments do not provide this.
Guidance Post 16
Department of Education