Induction and Training
It is helpful to student and employer alike for there to be a well-defined induction programme to allow the student to get up to speed quicker and feel supported from the outset. It can also prove useful for employers to realise the benefit of a placement at an early stage and will lead to less queries as the student learns the role.
Before the first day of the placement, it will be beneficial for the student to receive clear joining information via an appropriate communication channel (e.g. email or letter.) This may include where and when to report for work, dress code, any orientation material they can refer to beforehand, and some details on what they will be doing on their first day.
We recommend that the student’s first day on placement covers the following aspects:
First line management meeting
An initial meeting where a line manager or supervisor shares with the student key information on the organisation, including core values, organisational structure or any specific targets. This will also be an opportunity to define any expectations for the student including a clear description of their role and responsibilities. It is crucial to manage these expectations from the outset, as the student may have limited workplace experience and could therefore be feeling anxious or too ahead of themselves.
If the placement is long-term, at this stage you may also wish to schedule regular one-to-one meetings to check in with the student’s progress, particularly during the first few weeks and in cases where the student is working remotely.
Where available, this meeting can also be an opportunity to signpost the student towards wellbeing provision or Occupational Health resources, as well as assuring the student of open, two-way communication on their progress as the placement develops.
If the student is working in-person, they must be given the same induction as any other new starter. This should include a tour of the office or workspace that covers security procedures, fire exits, evacuation procedures, first aid arrangements and information on specific hazards. The student may also have specific access requirements, and any arrangements made on this basis should be covered on the first day.
Introduction to other colleagues
You may wish to invite the student to a team meeting or briefing, where colleagues and team members can introduce themselves and briefly explain their role in the organisation and how this relates to the student’s work. It is also advisable to include the student on relevant mailing lists, SharePoint sites (where appropriate) or other communication channels.
One of the key pieces of feedback we receive from employers is that hosting a placement student can inject new energy and purpose into the workplace and offer a way for junior colleagues to gain supervisory or mentoring experience. You may therefore consider setting up a ‘buddy’ system where an appropriate member of staff can act as a secondary point of contact for students to express any concerns or seek guidance on a particular task.