Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Education and Skills
298. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if secondary schools will take into account the difficulties that many transition year students face in trying to get relevant work experience at this time due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic when outlining the requirements as part of the transition year programme. [49682/21]
My Department is very aware of the challenges that pertain to Transition Year students trying to obtain relevant work experience at this time. My Department has already provided schools with a series of updated curriculum and assessment guidance and advice notes and work experience has been part of this communication.
It is expected that students will complete work experience in a workplace environment, where possible. However, if access to work experience is delayed or a student encounters difficulties in sourcing a work experience placement due to COVID-19, it may be necessary to put alternative learning experiences in place for those students.
Where facilitating work experience is proving challenging, schools could plan for the provision of alternative equivalent learning. This could include:
- the non-experiential aspects of work experience such as careers investigations;
- modules in employment skills including, for example, online courses/modules on Health and Safety in work;
- virtual tours of workplaces, businesses and companies.
Other alternative approaches to work placement may be considered, including:
- Education partnerships: Schools linking with local businesses, Local Enterprise Offices or further education facilities to explore options for remote learning for their students. Opportunities to provide remote tours of local industries, virtual job shadowing and question and answer sessions with those in key roles may provide useful insights into the world of work;
- Mentoring:In addition to the local partnerships, students may be able to access mentors in industries they are interested in. These mentor sessions could be accessed virtually;
- Online training:Students may be able to access online training courses in areas they have identified as relevant to their area of interest. There are free online courses in areas relevant to the world of work that could provide additional training, assessment and certification opportunities for students.