Maximising the impact of work experience programmes

Jan 23, 2020 | Apprentices & school leaver

MyKindaFuture shares expert advice on getting the most out of work experience programmes, both for young people and the businesses that run the schemes.

The focus on work experience is growing in all industries, none more so than the legal sector which is currently pioneering in this space. With this in mind we brought together key players from within the industry at our recent legal event, which was hosted in association with international law firm, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

The conference welcomed experts to share best practice and advice on getting the most out of work experience programmes, both for young people and the businesses that run the schemes.

What works?

The event kicked off with an introduction from MyKindaFuture’s very own Simon Reichwald, Strategic Lead for Talent, who provided attendees with an overview of the six key areas of best practice when delivering a work experience programme:

  1. Commitment to providing the highest quality placements
  2. Flexibility around the timing and length of programmes
  3. Matching the ambitions of the person taking part in work experience to ensure satisfaction
  4. Preparing ahead of time
  5. Offering a clear, varied and structured programme of events
  6. Encouraging feedback from both the business and the person taking part in the scheme to enable continuous improvement

Attracting quality, diverse talent

All successful work experience schemes begin by attracting and engaging with great talent and Tim Smith, Co-Head of the Social Inclusivity & Ethnicity Taskforce at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, offered his top tips for attracting high quality, diverse young people.

He argued that diverse talent, including those from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds, can only be reached via a targeted approach and that businesses must adopt a strategy devised specifically to reach these overlooked and hard-to-reach talent pools if they want to unlock the huge potential they have to offer.

Delivering a compelling experience for young people

Once these talented and diverse individuals have been reached, it is down to the work experience provider to create a programme that resonates with them.

Michelle Ruddle, Recruitment Manager at Hogan Lovells, believes this should begin by building ongoing relationships with schools and colleges to ensure students are engaged from the outset. To maximise engagement once a young person has started a programme, Michelle suggested that businesses work with alumni to create content that has proven effective within previous programmes.

Acknowledging the resourcing challenge that creating a truly engaging and varied work experience programme presents, Michelle recommended working with external partners, like MyKindaFuture, who can support in the promotion of the programme, as well as the screening of applicants, to alleviate pressure on the internal team, whilst guaranteeing a high calibre of talent.

Tracking impact

It is important that the impact of a work experience programme is tracked from the moment it starts, until long after the young person completes the scheme to enable a business to constantly improve the programme and maximise results.

Jackie Trench, Graduate Recruitment Manager at Clifford Chance, discussed how the business successfully progressed its own work experience programme from a one-week scheme open to year 12 students, to a five-year development programme that supports students from sixth form to the point at which they are applying for graduate schemes or a new role.

Working with PRIME, an alliance of legal firms committed to improving access to the legal professional network through work experience, and MyKindaFuture’s digital onboarding platform, connectr, Clifford Chance’s scheme was a success and they now know the destination of 64 percent of alumni. Jackie argued that connectr is integral in facilitating this long-term relationship between the business and candidates and keeps young people highly engaged by drip feeding bite sized content devised specifically to resonate with them.

These long-term relationships are vital not only from a CSR perspective, but also for the business, by maximising the ROI of work experience programmes and allowing firms to engage with the best and brightest young talent.

The results

Demonstrating the huge impact that work experience within the legal sector can have on young people, the event concluded with a talk from former PRIME student, Arun Sohan-Pall, who took to the stage to discuss his experience of the programme.

Arun’s parents didn’t go to university, but he felt the pressure to pursue a career that would be perceived as ‘respectable’ during his school years. For him, the PRIME work experience proved critical, particularly in developing the soft skills needed for a successful career in law – including confidence and office etiquette, as well as getting to grips with the basics of the industry.

Now pursuing a full-time career in law, Arun believes that the authenticity and exposure to a real employment setting that work experience programmes like PRIME offer is key to unlocking the huge potential that underrepresented talent, like himself, has to offer.

For information and advice about implementing work experience programmes that work, or to find out more about our connectr platform, visit

For more insight on work experience read ISE Inside Student Recruitment 2019

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