School Work Experience Arrangements

Information on work experience arrangements for schools. 

The Education Authority Work Experience Arrangements aims to allow controlled, maintained and Irish medium post primary schools to work in partnership with organisations and employers to ensure that pupils’ participation in work experience programmes is well managed, organised and safe. 

Work Experience Arrangements for Controlled, Maintained & Irish Medium Schools

Each board of governors in controlled, maintained and Irish medium schools offering work experience programmes should adopt these arrangements and agree a school policy that meets the individual needs of all pupils in their care.

It is the responsibility of the school to organise, manage, and administer work experience placements and be satisfied that they adhere to these arrangements including the completion and retention of the appropriate forms. Controlled, maintained and Irish medium schools will be required to make information available to the Education Authority on request in the event that a claim or legal proceedings arise.

Work Experience Arrangements Forms and Appendices

The work experience forms and appendices have been extracted from the EA Work Experience Arrangements document for use by schools.

The content of the forms should not be altered or removed, except in the following ways:

  • schools may brand some of the forms with their school style and logo

(Please note that, due to legal and regulatory requirements, logos should not be inserted onto the WE1 Form of Indemnity or Appendices 5 and 6 Access NI vetting forms or the EA logo removed from these forms.)

  • Schools may wish to add extra information relating to administrative duties such as notification of return dates for forms.

Any other changes beyond those highlighted above may affect the conditions of the indemnity and therefore must be discussed and agreed with an appropriate officer from the School governance Service.

Work Experience Toolkit

Work Experience Training for Work Experience Co-ordinators

Work Experience Forms Video Guide

Work experience Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Statutory Position reference: Work Experience

What is the statutory position reference Work Experience? Is there an expectation that all pupils complete work experience?

Work Experience is not statutory.  However, the Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) learning offer for all students should include:

  • Careers Education.  Taught timetabled careers education provision which include meaningful opportunities for progressive personal career planning;
  • Careers Information.  Access to up-to date careers information, including user-friendly labour market information;
  • Careers Advice and Guidance.  Planned opportunities for individual and impartial careers advice and guidance;
  • Work-Related Learning. Opportunities for planned and relevant work-related learning experiences; and
  • Development of Employability Skills. Realistic and meaningful opportunities for development of employability skills.

Work-related learning covers a wide range of provision. For some learners it is an integral part of their curriculum at Key Stage 4 (KS4) or Post-16, while for others, it is provided largely through an extended work-related learning opportunity, such as work experience or work shadowing. Work related learning experiences also include work-based assignments, industrial visits, mock interviews, industry days and enterprising activities.

What are the benefits of Work Experience for students?

Work Experience can:

  • inform their decision making at key transition points;
  • give relevance to their learning programme;
  • develop and/or enhance their employability skills;
  • build their self-esteem and confidence;
  • develop a link with someone in their chosen career;
  • develop and increase their knowledge and understanding of the world of work
  • build positive relationships with an employer; benefits both the student and the school;
  • promote the school in the wider community.

Sharing of Information

What information can schools share with employers about pupils?

Section 7.4c of the ‘Work Experience Arrangements for Controlled, Maintained and Irish Medium Schools 2019’ (WEA 2019) states that employers should be provided with details of any specific requirements, for example, a pupil with a specific medical requirement or statement of special educational need.  This will ensure that the employer has sufficient information to manage the health and safety of the pupil whilst on placement.

If a parent does not want relevant information shared with an employer then the placement cannot proceed.

Do schools need to inform employers about an individual pupil’s needs in writing or can schools do this verbally?

This information should be shared in writing to ensure the information is clearly captured and understood. Form WE5 requires the placement provider to complete a risk assessment where the specific needs of the student being placed is one of the factors they must consider, this information must be provided by the school in advance.

Work Experience Paperwork

If several pupils are attending the same placement can schools add multiple pupils’ names to the ‘WE1 Form of Indemnity for employers situated in Northern Ireland’ (WE1)

The revised WE1 available on the Education Authority (EA) website has been adapted so schools can add multiple pupils’ names to WE1.

Do all employers need to return WE1 Form of Indemnity?

WE1 states that it is NOT required for placements at controlled, maintained and Irish medium schools, EA controlled youth groups, any EA establishments or placements in the Health Trusts. All other paperwork must be completed for placements in these settings.

All other employers must sign and return WE1 and provide a copy of their employer’s liability insurance.

How often are pupils on placement visited?

Section 10 of the ‘WEA 2019’ states that:

  • Pupils on block placement are visited at least once regardless of the duration of the block placement;
  • Pupils on extended placement or tailored placement are visited monthly.

Who can visit the pupils while on placement?

Section 10 of the ‘WEA 2019’ states that:

As part of the monitoring of students whilst on work experience it is essential that pupils are visited at least once by a member of the teaching staff or the work experience coordinator whilst on work placement.

Other appropriate personnel, for example education welfare officer, social worker or probation officer and/or project worker, may visit pupils on a tailored placement as well as the school; details of the visit must be shared with the school.

Can pupils undertake work experience during school holidays and weekends?

Section 5.1b of the ‘WEA 2019’ states that: Work experience organised by the school must not be undertaken during school holidays and weekends as schools are not available to monitor the placements and indemnity is therefore not in place. It is best practice that schools should not send pupils on work experience during the five days prior to the summer holidays, as the opportunity to assess the learning arising from the placements may not be maximised.

Also, under Section 5.1b If someone with parental responsibility agrees to or organises work experience for their child during holidays, weekends or at a time when the school is unable to fulfil its duty of care, no indemnity is available.

Do those making monitoring visits to pupils on work experience need to have business-purpose cover on their car insurance policy?

Business Class 1 cover will be needed if the vehicle is used for any work purposes including work experience monitoring visits.

Safeguarding

Information on Child Protection in the context of Work Experience Placements can be found in Section 6 of the WEA 2019.  Schools should also reference their own Safeguarding policy.

Access NI

When should an Access NI application be completed for work experience?

Students:

Students may be asked to complete an Access NI criminal record check for certain sectors of work, for example, Health, Private nursing, residential or childcare. For the EA to comply with an Access NI check the student must be over age 16. EA will only complete a Supervised Volunteer check on the student.

Employer:

EA recommends that schools should consider Access NI checks for the employer in all of the following cases:

(a) Students identified by the school as vulnerable for educational, medical, behavioural or home circumstance reasons.

(b) Students on placements where these involve:

  • regular lone working with an employer over long periods (for example, anything over half a day at a time);
  • placements located in particularly isolated environments; and
  • placements involving a high degree of travelling.

If a placement falls into one of the above categories it does not necessarily mean that an Access NI check is required. The decision will depend on an assessment of the overall potential risks posed to a young person and will take into account any systems in place to minimise these risks.

If Access NI check is requested what type of clearance is required?

Students and employers should apply for the Access NI Enhanced Disclosure.

What is the process to apply for the Access NI Enhanced Disclosure check?

As detailed on the Access NI PIN Application Form, the following steps must be followed:

  • Submit an online application via NIDirect.
  • Complete the Access NI Application PIN Form supplied by the school.
  • Collate 3 forms of acceptable Identification Documentation (ID) as detailed on the PIN Form.
  • ID should be verified by the School Principal / school representative.
  • Send the completed Access NI Application PIN Form and copies of ID to the EA Access NI Unit.

How is the online Access NI Application completed?

To complete the online application, log on to NIDirect via the link on the Access NI Application PIN Form and follow the steps to apply for an Enhanced Disclosure Check.

What is the Pin Number for the EA?

When completing the online Access NI Enhanced Disclosure Check through the NI Direct website applicants will require the EA 6-digit PIN number which is 424645.

Which ID Documents are acceptable?

A list of acceptable Access NI Identity Documents is provided within the Access NI Pin Form, however the most common forms of IDs provided are;

  • Current Passport
  • Current UK Driving Licence
  • Birth Certificate
  • Bank/Building Society statement dated within the last 3 months.
  • EU National Card
  • YLink Card issued by Translink (NI Only)
  • P45/60 Statement
  • Letter from a Head Teacher or Principal (only when other documents cannot be provided)

Note: Please ensure that at least one ID provided has a copy of the applicant’s current address.

Who can verify the IDs?

ID for Access NI must be verified by the Principal/ Vice-Principal /Senior Teacher or EA Human Resources (HR) representative (verifier). The verifier should declare they have seen the original ID by signing the Access NI Application PIN Form.

Do students need an Access NI Enhanced Disclosure check if the school placement has not requested this?

A Access NI Enhanced Disclosure check can only be completed when the External Employer has requested this from the work experience Student.

What if a placement is requesting an Access NI Enhanced Disclosure and the pupil is 15?

For the EA to comply with Access NI regulations’ the student must be over 16 years of age.

What is the cost of an Access NI Enhanced Disclosure?

There is no cost for the school or the pupil to complete an Access NI Enhanced Disclosure Check.

Where should the completed Access NI PIN Form & verified ID be sent?

Please send the completed Access NI PIN Form & copies of verified ID to [email protected] or post to Access NI Unit, Education Authority, Ballee Centre, Ballee Road West, Ballymena, BT42 2HS.

How long does it take for a Access NI Enhanced Disclosure check to be processed?

There is no specific timeline for completion of the Access NI Enhanced Disclosure application process. Once the completed Access NI PIN Form and correct IDs are sent to [email protected] the EA Access NI Team will uplift and process the application as soon as possible. Once processed by EA Team the application will go to the NI Direct Access NI Team who will complete the background check and issue the Enhanced Disclosure Certificate directly to the applicant.

Administration

Who is responsible for ensuring that all Work Experience documentation has been completed?

It is the responsibility of the school to organise work experience and be satisfied that it adheres to WEA 2019including completion of all documentation.

Should the school engage with or utilise the services of any external provider, it remains the responsibility of the school to ensure that the WEA 2019 is fully adhered to.

How long should documentation be retained by schools?

Documentation or copies of documentation, particularly forms WE1 to WE5, associated with these arrangements should be held by the school in accordance with the schedule for retention of records, from a pupil’s date of birth plus 23 years and 26 years for pupils with special needs, and made available to EA when requested for the purposes of defending any action brought by a pupil or a past pupil of the school, the employer or a third party.

It therefore remains a requirement and responsibility of schools (including alternative education provision managed by EA) that they manage and administer arrangements for the completion and retention of the appropriate work experience forms and to make information available to EA on request in the event that a claim or legal proceedings arise.

Where can I find information on work placement provision restrictions for pupils?

Section 5.1b ‘Timing of Placement’ and 5.2 ‘Framework for Placements’ in the WEA 2019 outlines a number of factors that pertain to all placements in order to meet requirements set down in legislation and for the general health, safety and welfare of pupils.

How does my school’s Work Experience Policy operate alongside the WEA 2019?

 The board of governors in Controlled, Maintained and Irish Medium Schools offering work experience programmes must adopt the WEA 2019 in full and agree a school policy that meets the needs of all pupils within their care.

A school’s Work Experience Policy should be used in conjunction with the WEA 2019

A Work Experience Policy outlines how a school will manage the aims and objectives of the work experience programme and sets monitoring and evaluation procedures for the programme.

Section 3 of the WEA 2019 covers Work Experience Policy development. EA has produced a template to support schools in developing a policy which can be accessed at our website.

A school’s Work Experience Policy should be reviewed every three years or whenever EA’s Work Experience Arrangements are reviewed.

What is the duty of the school with regard to risk assessment?

Schools are not responsible for completing WE5 Risk Assessment for students’ work experience placements. In completing WE5, employers must assess the risks to pupils on work experience. Risk assessments should be undertaken by the employer as soon as the placement details have been agreed with the school and before the student takes up the work placement.

Employers should be informed in advance by the school about any individual students who may be at greater risk, for example because of any specific medical needs/behavioural needs or learning difficulties. It is a responsibility of the school to assess the suitability of a potential placement after reviewing the completed forms WE2, WE4 and WE5.  

Contact Details

For specific work experience advice relating to general procedural issues, legal/indemnity issues, curricular issues, Access NI issues, please contact the appropriate person listed in the table below.

  Work Placement Curriculum Guidance Work Placement Procedural Guidance  Work Placement Claims and Insurance Guidance  Work Placement Vetting Guidance 
Locality South West 

Michael Burns 
Omagh Office
Tel: 028 8225 6873

Louise Burke 
Clounagh Centre
Tel: 028 3836 8190

Ann Lindsay
Omagh Office
Tel: 028 8241 1271

Margaret Doherty
Omagh Office
Tel: 028 8241 1380

Denise Coyle
Omagh Office
Tel: 028 8241 1244 

Briege Ashley
Tel: 028 8241 1365

Nikki Jones 
Ballee Centre
Tel: 028 2566 1193

Locality North

Amanda Monaghan 
Antrim Office
Tel: 028 94482200

Rachael Kane 
Antrim Office 
Tel: 028 2563 7229

Teresa McCrory
North West Teachers' Centre
Tel: 028 8241 1544

Niall Ward
Omagh Office 
Tel: 028 8241 1391

Nikki Jones 
Ballee Centre
Tel: 028 2566 1193

Locality East

Hilary West-Hurst
Dundonald Office 
Tel: 028 9056 6878

William Anderson
North West Teachers' Centre
Tel:  028 3751 2255

Neil McGivern
Dundonald Office 
Tel: 028 9056 6415

Gemma Horner  
Dundonald Office
Tel: 028 9056 6453

Philip White
Tel: 028 9598 6296

Nikki Jones 
Ballee Centre
Tel: 028 2566 1193

Email: [email protected]

Last updated: 21/05/2024