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Careers, work experience and employment

Work experience

Work experience may take place during the last two years of compulsory education and is possible only when the arrangements for it are made or approved by a Local Education Authority under section 560 of the Education Act 1996 and is not a statutory requirement.

It is clearly seen as part of the young person’s education not employment. It must be unpaid, is subject to different insurance arrangements, clear health and safety criteria and is based in a different legislative framework. Therefore, many of the restrictions and prohibitions that apply to employers under the child employment regulations do not apply to work experience placements.

Occasionally, the parents of children who are being electively home educated will refer to ‘work experience’ as part of the proposed education programme. A local authority cannot be held liable for any child being injured whilst on work experience when they have not organised it, which will be the case with children who are being electively home educated.

However, children receiving elective home education may still undertake work experience providing the parents take responsibility for ensuring the placement is safe, insurance is in place and all health and safety criteria are met. This will include a thorough risk assessment appropriate for the work the child is doing being undertaken and that you (the parent) are informed of any controls that are put in place.

It is also very important that the employer offering the work experience placement is made fully aware that the child is being electively home educated and that it is not a school-arranged placement. This could well mean that the parents have to cover any extra insurance the employer may need to take out.

Many employers are familiar with work experience and support schools by offering placements. They may therefore assume that any such request involves a school and will not necessarily realise the child is being electively home educated.

Any work experience opportunity undertaken by children receiving elective home education must be unpaid and clearly seen to be enhancing the child’s education and life experiences and cannot be used as a replacement of the education programme you are providing for your child.


CSW Group are pleased to present a number of webinars. Each webinar is freely available to young people in schools, colleges, home education, and those not currently in education.

Inspiring Futures is a series of 9 webinars covering different aspects of career development, employability, and how to negotiate the world of work.

My Choices is a webinar series to help young people prepare for the world of work.

Future Proofing Your Career is a webinar series to help you get ready for the world of work whilst still at school.

Post-16 options

Information about post-16 options is available here.

The Sir Francis Chichester Trust

FULLY FUNDED 2023 Outward Bound Courses for Young People aged 16 to 22 yrs!

Applications are open to young people who live in Devon and who are aged 16-22 (at the time of the course, which will be July/August 2023). The courses are designed to help participants make an effective transition into sixth form, further education or work and is a chance to have a life-shaping adventure with people from all over the world, to know what they are truly capable of achieving and to stand out in a crowded market place. The courses are held at the Outward Bound centres in the Lake District, Wales and Scotland. The aim of these courses is to allow young people to challenge themselves, demonstrate progress focused on personal development, work outside of their normal friendship group and leave with a breadth of experience that will enrich personal statements and set them aside from other young people. The main benefits for the young people are seen in greatly improved self-confidence and team working abilities, together with raised aspirations. The Trust looks for candidates that wouldn’t normally have a chance to undertake anything of this nature and will be able to enjoy and benefit from the experience. Please note that they cannot support any young people that, at the time of their course, are subject to a youth offending/rehabilitation order and also if a young person has been supported by the Trust previously, they are unlikely to be funded for a further course. The Sir Francis Chichester Trust will meet the full course fee (up to £1950/person) for successful applicants and ask that they are responsible for their own transport to/from the Outward Bound centre of their choice. However, if transport costs are prohibitive then they will look at additional support if possible. The closing date for applications is Tuesday 24th January 2023 with interviews for those shortlisted being held 2nd and 3rd March 2023 in Exeter, young people applying must be available on one of these dates. Find further details and application form can be found on the Outward Bound website

The Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Programme

The Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Programme is open to home-educated young people aged 14-19.

The young person will be expected to spend a minimum of one hour a week doing three different activities: physical, volunteering and skill. The DofE Programme offers a good framework to focus on and a reward for a commitment to learning.

The Bronze Award takes a minimum of six months to complete as two sections are carried out for three months and one for six months. The final section is a two-day walk, with a one-night expedition.

Training for this would be done in group sessions. An expedition team needs to consist of 4-7 young people, who would get to know one another during the training sessions.

Currently, there are spaces in Okehampton and Wembury via DofE volunteers who support DofE and Devon Youth Service (DYS) Space but do get in contact if you are interested and live in other areas of Devon.

The cost of enrolment for a Bronze or Silver is £24 and for Gold is £31. There is funding which could be applied for if this is a potential barrier.

For more information, take a look at the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme website or email at DYS Space.

The National Citizen Service (NCS) Programme

NCS is a programme during the summer for all 15-17-year-olds. It offers an excellent opportunity for students to meet new people from a variety of backgrounds, attend an action-packed and fun residential, be part of a social action project making a difference in the community; as well as learn new skills and grow in confidence. This is available free of charge to all students and early applications are recommended.

You can find out more and apply on the NCS website.

Devon and Cornwall Police work experience online

Devon and Cornwall Police have developed a work experience online experience programme. On the site you can find out about various roles in the police service and take part in some interactive activities. The policing roles include the following, and many more:

  • Control Room.
  • Dog Team.
  • Crime Investigation.
  • Scientific Services.

Once you have tried all that, you can complete the ‘knowledge check’ quiz to see how much you remember!

Visit the Devon and Cornwall Police online experience programme to find out more.

Prince’s Trust Team Programme

Supporting personal development and building confidence.

Free training for 16-25-year-olds on a 12-week full-time course. Based in and out of the classroom; this full-time programme teaches leadership, communication and teamwork skills, through hands-on learning.

Earn a Level 1 Qualification by joining us in Newton Abbot for:

  • outdoors activities
  • work experience placements
  • team building activities
  • employability development
  • fun community projects


Child employment

Students who are receiving elective home education are governed by the same laws with regard to child employment issues as any other child.

Parents and employers sometimes experience confusion about what work these children can undertake and how many hours they can work.

Once a child takes up elective home education the parents will be given a guide to child employment leaflet and a letter explaining about work and work experience for their children once they are old enough to work.

The following information on child employment is to help ensure that if a child who is being educated at home takes on some form of employment whilst still of statutory school age, they do so legally and receive the protection to which they are entitled.

You can find more detailed guidance relating to child employment here, including the types of jobs permitted and the number of hours per day that children are allowed to work.

No child of statutory school age is permitted to work at all, regardless of how they are being educated, unless they have been issued with a work permit.

This also applies to children who may be working part-time in the family business or with a self-employed parent, in which case the parent is also classed as the employer of the child.

There are restrictions on the type of employment that is permitted (a list of prohibited employment is set out in the leaflet), and the authority is not allowed to issue a permit for work that falls into the prohibited category.

If children undertake any form of employment (which they can do once they have reached 13 years of age), it is the legal responsibility of the employer to apply for a work permit. They can be obtained from the address on the back of the leaflet. If a child works without one, he or she will have no insurance cover in the event of an accident at work because the employment is illegal unless a permit has been issued for that job.

The employer can be prosecuted for the illegal employment of children as can parents if this is considered appropriate. If they are found guilty, heavy fines and court costs can follow.

These regulations apply to all children from the age of 13 years to the point at which they are no longer of compulsory school age. This date is set as being the last Friday in June in the school year in which they reach the age of 16. Many employers and parents think that once a young person is 16 they are no longer bound by these regulations – this is not the case

The Education Welfare Service employs a person responsible for child employment. If you have any queries at all or need to ask for more advice, please contact The Child Employment and Entertainment Officer on 01392 287223 or you can speak to Irene Love, EHE Administrator for Elective Home Education on 01392 287230. Both will be pleased to help and advise you further.

GOV.UK – Child employment also provides guidance.