Virtual Industry Placements – Thinking Outside The Box
As firms continue to change the way they operate, with more adopting remote working and the increased use of digital technology, it seems inevitable that the way learner industry placements are conducted will also need to adapt and change.
Physical industry placements may have stopped for the moment with the various Covid-19 restrictions in place, but this could be an ideal opportunity to think outside the box to ensure learners still receive an authentic workplace experience – now and in the future.
Businesses and education providers can work together to make the experience as fulfilling as possible given the circumstances.
There are lots of ways to involve learners in workplace projects and activities without the need for them to be there in person.
The key is making them feel like they are still part of the organisation during the placement period and treating them as they would be in the workplace.
So what could a Virtual Industry Placement look like?
Virtual activities could include:
- An online welcome meeting delivered by senior managers/employees
- Shadowing/joining online internal meetings
- Speaking to employees online about their roles and responsibilities
- Watching videos of employees and hearing how they have progressed
- Joining external webinars alongside other company employees
- Doing some research for the organisation which can be shared online
- Project work established before the placements supported by an industry mentor
- Learning about the digital technology used by the business with an opportunity to use that technology
Industry placements are essential in preparing young people for work and although some employers are apprehensive about taking students on at present, there are ways to ensure businesses and learners can both still benefit and don’t miss out on this experience.
There are also opportunities for learners to gain industry exposure outside an industry placement time frame, with many more webinars and online seminars now available which learners can register for at a time and place which suits them.
Face-to-face contact and physical placements, when restrictions are eased, are still very important.
However, as things stand and looking to the future, giving learners the experience they need without them setting foot in the workplace is very achievable – helping them develop skills to shape tomorrow’s workforce.