Home educating teenagers and entering the workforce

Teens considering career options can benefit enormously from a variety of work experience placements. Even students who have selected a career field can benefit from working in different environments. A teen may discover they prefer marine rather than automotive mechanics, that working in a small childcare centre is more to their liking than a large one, or that their passion is for contract rather than criminal law. If nothing else, work experience often allows teens to discover what they don’t like, which can save a great deal of time.

It’s quite common for work experience to lead to jobs in environments such as retail and hospitality where teens are commonly employed as well as in trades. Many tradespeople are so impressed by their home educated students that they are keen to take them on as apprentices.

Finding a work experience placement can be a little daunting. The easiest way to find a placement is to approach a company which regularly takes students, or to ask personal contacts – parents of friends for example. If there’s nobody within your circle, research local employers. If you are applying to a workplace that’s open to the public, it can help for the teen to go themselves, with a letter explaining their interest and with a resume attached if relevant. Alternatively, email is an option, and a good letter explaining why you are approaching that employer and showing real interest/that you have done some research will go a long way towards helping your application stand out.

Some workplaces (particularly those which normally have under 18s on the premises), may have insurance cover for work experience students, other informal contacts may not require it. However, some workplaces will expect you to provide evidence of your own insurance cover, and this is included in HEN membership for most states. Please be aware that this takes time to set up, you can find details here.