Guidance

16 to 19 funding study programmes: work experience

Information on funding work experience in 16 to 19 study programmes.

Funding guidance

The requirements for funding work experience are incorporated in the 16 to 19 funding regulations for 2017 to 2018 academic year.

This note provides further information on work experience and how it is funded.

Recording work experience and work placements for 2017 to 2018 in the Individualised Learner Record (ILR)

For ILR users only: providers should complete the Learning Delivery Work Placement Entity as in previous years. For 2017 to 2018 a new field has been added to this entity to record the planned hours for each work placement. This must contain a value in the range 1 to 9999. This replaces the requirement to record work placements by using one of the 5 work experience aims (Z0007834, Z0007835, Z0007836, Z0007837, Z0007838). Please also ensure that the ‘mode’ is completed correctly to indicate whether the activity was internal or external (external being with an employer on a site external to the learning environment).

This applies to all types of study programme, apart from where work experience is an essential element of the study programme.

Institutions should ensure their data is accurate before the final return.

(NB: The above addition is the main change in this factsheet and it is to reflect the existing ILR recording arrangements that were set out in the ILR user manual at the beginning of the 2017/18 academic year.)

School Census users: recording of work experience remains the same as 2016 to 2017.

For work placements being funded though the Capacity Delivery Fund (CDF) from 2018 to 2019 academic year, we will be issuing new guidance for ILR and school census users on the CDF factsheet before the summer.

Purpose of work experience

Work experience is designed to bridge the gap between education and the world of work. It can help inform career choices, provide the opportunity for young people to prove themselves to an employer, and help instil the attitudes and behaviours expected at work.

Work experience can take many forms including work tasters; running a student enterprise; participation in social action, volunteering or a work placement.

Work placements will usually take place with an external employer and they are an integral part of traineeships, supported internships and some study programmes, where work experience is the core aim. Work placements can also form an essential element of some vocational qualifications.

Study programmes

All 16 to 19 year old students are funded for an individual study programme. Most study programmes have a core aim which is either a substantial qualification (academic or vocational) or work experience.

The study programme must be tailored to the prior attainment of each individual student, have clear study and/or employment goals reflecting the student’s prior attainment and should include

  • substantial qualifications or work experience
  • maths and English for students who have not achieved grade A* to C, GCSE, new GCSE 9 to 4 or equivalent qualification in these subjects by age 16
  • planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours (EEP hours), including work experience

Further details of what is expected from quality work experience can be found on GOV.UK.

How work experience is funded within study programmes

This information outlines how work experience fits within study programmes and how it is funded.

Work experience is funded as part of the total planned hours for each student’s study programme that attracts the standard 16 to 19 national funding base rate.

Qualifying for funding

To qualify for funding work experience must:

  • be directly relevant to the student’s study programme
  • be planned, explicit in the student’s timetable or learning plan
  • be within the normal pattern of attendance at the institution
  • be supervised and/or organised by a member of staff

Work experience is funded and recorded differently on the type of study programme for example this can be:

  • the core aim of a study programme, including traineeships where work experience is the core aim
  • where it is within a vocational qualification that has learning in the workplace as an essential element
  • where the work experience is an enrichment activity (forms part of EEP hours)

Funding and recording work experience as the core aim of a study programme

Where a student has work experience as the core aim of their study programme it must be with an external employer and on a site that is external to the learning environment.

This applies even where the institution has extensive facilities mirroring the workplace. Activity in a simulated work environment may well form a helpful part of work preparation training but will not count as ‘external’ work placements for the purpose of study programmes.

This should be recorded as non-qualification hours (EEP hours) in the individualised learner record (ILR) and school census. ILR users, please refer to the new guidance above for recording work experience and complete all the appropriate fields in the Learning Delivery Work Placement Entity.

Funding and recording work experience where it is within a vocational qualification that has work experience as an essential element

Some vocational qualifications have work experience as an essential element. Here the purpose of the work experience element is to provide the student with the opportunity to practice skills in a supervised environment. This applied learning and practical training could take place in an institution’s workshop such as, or a college hairdressing salon, or on a college farm. It could also take place on employers’ premises.

This activity should be recorded within qualification planned hours on the ILR/census and not duplicated as EEP hours. The qualification and not the work experience is the core aim of the study programme. The hours for the whole qualification including the work experience element are recorded in the planned qualification hours field. There is no requirement to record data against the Learning Delivery Work Placement Entity separately in the ILR or against one of the 5 work experience aims in the school census.

Funding and recording work experience as an enrichment activity

Work experience as an enrichment activity can add value to the study programme by preparing students for work. It enables them to explore the careers linked to the academic or vocational subjects they are studying and helps with their choice of further or higher education.

Where work experience that is neither the core aim of the study programme or required as part of the qualification but is undertaken as an enrichment activity, should be recorded as planned non-qualification EEP hours. In these circumstances, please complete the Learning Delivery Work Placement Entity in the ILR or one of the 5 work experience aims school census and ensure you select the appropriate ‘mode’ to indicate whether it is external or internal.

Traineeships and work experience

The purpose of traineeships is to prepare young people for employment so that they are able to progress successfully to an apprenticeships and other paid employment with training.

Therefore it is important that work experience in traineeships gives the young person experience of a real workplace so they can develop the skills, knowledge, confidence, attitudes and behaviours they need to succeed at work. This should be undertaken with an external employer, external to the learning environment and at an external site. However, exceptions to this will be funded. See under work experience within local authorities below.

Institutions will need to make a judgment about whether their work placements genuinely provide students with the experiences they need to develop the work-related attributes expected of a traineeship. Ultimately Ofsted make judgments about the suitability of these arrangements through inspection and grading of institutions.

Activity in a simulated work environment may well form a helpful part of work preparation training but will not count as work placements for the purpose of traineeships or other study programmes.

Work experience delivered as part of a traineeship programme must be recorded as the core aim of the study programme. If a student does multiple work experience placements, these should not be recorded as separate learning aims. Instead a single learning aim must be recorded that reflects the total hours across all the placements. ILR users must complete the Learning Delivery Work Placement entity, or if using the school census, complete one of the 5 work experience aims.

The difference between the core aim in a traineeship and the core aim of work experience in a study programme

Traineeships are for young people who are within 6 months of securing an apprenticeship or employment with training. Traineeships provide a national identity and brand which is valued by young people and employers, that has clear progression routes, which is one of the main features. Traineeship vacancies can be advertised via apprenticeships on line.

A study programme with a core aim of external work experience requires the student to have a work placement. It is possible for a student to progress from a study programme with a core aim of work experience to a traineeship, and this model is operating successfully in a number of institutions. Institutions need to be sure that the traineeship is adding value for the student and that the same activity is not being funded twice.

See the traineeships fact sheet for more details

Supported internships and work experience

Supported internships are available to students with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). A supported internship is a structured study programme where the student is based primarily with an external employer for extended work placement. Supported internships are intended to help students obtain sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills for work through learning in the workplace. The internship normally lasts for a year and includes an unpaid work placement of at least 6 months.

A work placement within a supported internship study programme has to be planned, organised and supervised by the institution as with any other work experience. This should be recorded as non-qualification planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours (EEP) in the ILR/school census. ILR users must complete the Learning Delivery Work Placement entity, or if using the school census, complete one of the 5 work experience aims.

Internal work experience

Activities that reproduce aspects of the work environment, including working environments such as college restaurants, hairdressing salons or car repair centres, can take place within the educational institution and will be funded. This could be an option for a student who needs support in going from a safe school/college environment to the workplace. It can be a valuable part of work preparation training.

This can apply in hazardous occupations, such as agriculture or forestry, where skills and experience need to be developed under supervision on college farms or estates, so that students can operate safely on external work experience. It can also meet awarding body requirements for accreditation.

These activities are defined as internal work experience. If these activities are an integral part of the qualification then they should be recorded as qualification hours. If not they should be recorded as planned non-qualification employability, enrichment and pastoral hours (EEP) in the ILR/school census. It should not be counted or recorded as external work experience. When completing the Learning Delivery Work Placement Entity in the ILR, please ensure you select the appropriate ‘mode’ to indicate the work experience is internal.

Students who work part time and work experience

Part time paid work, such as evening or Saturday work, does not qualify for work experience funding. In no circumstances can the hours of the student’s employment be included in any data returns.

Students often think their part time work does count as funded work experience but this is not the case because the main purpose is for the student to earn money, not the learning. Also the institution has not organised it in conjunction with the employer, therefore it is not based around what the student will learn by being in a work environment.

There may be exceptions, such as students in studio schools may undertake paid employment, in such cases the main objective remains work experience (rather than earning money), learning objectives are agreed and the full criteria for funding planned hours is to be met.

Work experience organised by the student

Any work experience organised by the student without the involvement of their institution should not be included as either a learning aim or within the student’s planned hours. This is because it does not meet the requirements for funding planned hours. This is set out in the paragraph headed qualifying for funding.

Work experience within local authorities

A number of local authorities have a training arm, but direct provision of training is not the local authority’s core business. In these circumstances work experience within local authority departments, which are separate to the training arm, is fundable and is counted as external work experience.

Local authorities offering work experience within their organisation must be able to evidence whether or not the work experience opportunities they offer are sufficient to meet the purpose of work experience. They should ensure that the evidence is sufficient to satisfy any challenge and to satisfy Ofsted.

How Ofsted will assess work experience

Ofsted will look to see how the work experience has given the student the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the learning programme, and how it has prepared them for employment. They will assess whether the work experience is both purposeful and planned, and whether it gives young people the opportunity to develop their employability skills in real working conditions.

Ofsted will look to see what the progression is for the student on their study programme. If it is progression to higher education, there would be no automatic expectation to see external work experience included in the programme. If it is to an apprenticeship or work, Ofsted will normally expect the student’s study programme to include work experience with an external employer.

Institutions’ working environments such as college companies provide good opportunities for students to develop initial vocational skills, knowledge and employability skills. However, students should progress to external work experience at the earliest opportunity especially if work experience is a substantial part of their study programme. When inspected, Ofsted would look for evidence that the simulated work experience has been purposeful, and look at what value the young person has gained from the experience.

Further guidance on recording work experience and traineeships

The ILR provider support manual can be found on GOV.UK.

Full details on the traineeships programme can be found on GOV.UK.

Demonstrating how the work experience core aim has been achieved

There is no precise definition for achieved in work experience (unlike qualifications which are achieved via exams or assessment through a portfolio). It is for institutions to interpret this at local level. What is important is whether the objectives of the work experience have been achieved. The student would need to have achieved what was intended through the work experience.

If the student attends for fewer than their planned hours, or leaves early, as long as they move into a positive destination which is defined as sustainable paid employment, FE/HE or an Apprenticeship then they have achieved the work experience core aim and this can be entered on the ILR as completed and achieved.

Withdrawing from part of a study programme

A student who withdraws from part of their study programme should make up the time with other meaningful activity, either qualification or non-qualification hours.

Data collection for census users

All work experience should be recorded on the school census and identified to show whether the student did internal or external work experience or both.

To record the total amount of external work experience a student has done in the academic year, the code for the work experience band in which the total hours of work experience falls should also be entered on the school census. It should be recorded as a separate aim in each academic year. A student can do more than one placement per academic year in which case the total hours through the academic year should be recorded.

Institutions should ensure their data is accurate before the final return.

For internal work experience, irrespective of the total hours delivered for the academic year, the aim code Z0007834 must be used.

Further guidance is available on completing the school census can be found on GOV.UK.

Further information on work experience and study programmes

Wolf report on vocational education

The review of vocational education found evidence that external work experience gives students a much richer experience of work and improves their readiness for work and their opportunities for paid work.

The Wolf Report containing information on the evidence for the need for external work experience can be found on GOV.UK.

DfE guidance

In October 2013 DfE published a policy document on work experience. This reinforced the importance of work experience within study programmes for 16 to 19 year olds who can benefit from it. It noted that the greatest benefits for students are where work experience is substantial and with an external employer.

Supported internships information

Further details on supported internships and work experience can be found on GOV.UK.

Making work experience work for you

Study programmes, traineeships and supported internships guide.

AoC study programme central

This website has a range of useful information including case studies on work experience.

Work experience readiness checklist

This is an AoC/DfE joint publication with details of the policy and background:

Queries on work experience

ESFA enquiries

For all enquiries for the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Published 5 March 2015
Last updated 25 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect the changes to the existing ILR recording arrangements that were set out in the ILR user manual at the beginning of the 2017 to 2018 academic year.
  2. Updated for 2016 to 2017 academic year
  3. Updated version August 2015
  4. First published.