For adults working with students it is important to feel confident in the relationship, but at the same time to be aware of potential problems that may arise. The following guidelines have been written to help employers provide a secure and productive work experience placement for students and employees alike.
Students should be supervised at all times whilst on work experience placement. Good supervision is an effective way of enabling the placement to be successful and reduce the risk of problems arising. Employers should do all they can to ensure that their employees’ relationships with students on work experience are appropriate to their age and gender and do not give rise to comment or speculation. Attitude, behaviour and language all require care and thought.
Behaviour and Relationships
It is important that students are reassured and helped to feel comfortable and confident in their new surroundings. However, relationships should remain professional and avoid becoming too familiar. Never permit ‘horseplay’ which may cause embarrassment or fear.
It is advisable that employees are not placed in a situation whereby they are isolated or working alone with a student. If one to one contact is used (e.g. review meeting) this should be in a public area or in a room with the door open enabling occupants to be visible and audible from the outside.
The occasions when touch is required to guide the arm or hand of a student during a task or whilst training to carry out a technical or manual operation should be kept to a minimum and should be used in a manner that is appropriate to the situation.
On occasions when travel is necessary, ensure that a third party is aware of the intended destination and check-in times are agreed and registered. It is a good idea to make available a mobile phone in the event of a breakdown or emergency.
A student may confide to a work colleague information that could raise concern for their physical or emotional safety. If this arises, the employee should speak to their line manager who should share the concern with the school contact or central work experience organiser, or in the case of a college, the student support Designated Child Protection Officer. This response should also be adopted if a student makes an allegation against someone in his or her work placement.
Employers are reminded that they are required by law to protect students from harm and that employees are required under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act, 2000 to declare if they are disqualified from working with children.
Should you require any further information or have any concerns regarding child protection, please contact us here