Work Experience Works! – Hear what Auberge Du Chocolat think about work experience

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Anne Scott – Managing Director at Auberge Du Chocolat

‘Work Experience… Works!’

Chocolat is a strong supporter of developing work skills in young people through hands on employer engagement.

Auberge Du Chocolat has been registered on WANNABEBucks.org since its launch and has used the site to advertise two previous apprenticeship vacancies along with a popular open ended work experience opportunity. Recently Auberge recruited another young person who was looking to learn more about digital marketing for a week of work experience, so we caught up with them to find out about their views on, and approach to work experience.

Auberge offer an open work experience allowing young people to choose the type of work they want to do during their placement to best suit their aspirations. They’ve noticed that by doing this they’re able to recruit eager people who work hard during their placement and make an impact within the business.

As with most businesses, digital media is a growing area that doesn’t always get the attention that it needs which is why Auberge welcome regular work placements from young people who want to learn more about digital media. After facilitating a number of digital work placements Auberge has noticed the benefits of a fresh approach to their digital media from a young person.

When a work experience candidate is excelling during their placement they have in the past increased their responsibilities to provide even more practical experience for the young person while gaining an extra pair of useful hands for the business. They say at least 75% of the young people they’ve had on a placement have had a noticeable positive impact on the business; whether that be through reducing the workload or improving certain areas of the business.

Speaking on the recent week of work experience they provided to Kieran from Buckinghamshire College Group around digital media work, Anne Scott had a lot of great things to say about the experience as a whole for both herself and her business.

‘He (Kieran) was extremely willing and keen to learn which is important… he kept notes of what he was learning which he referred back to, and was definitely able to provide a good input so we have gone back with a good review for him.’

‘We both won last week, coming from his point of view I know he left here with a great deal more knowledge than when he came…. And cost-wise, the amount of time I had to put in to him and the amount he produced, I won as well! He definitely produced more than the time I had to spend with him.’

During his week of work experience Kieran was able to take on a number of tasks during a busy period for the business including photographing new products for Valentine’s day, editing the photos, producing a webpage for the day on the Auberge website and producing content for their Twitter and Facebook accounts in preparation for Burns night.

Another area in which Auberge see the benefit of offering work experience is in recruiting for the future, they see it as a great way to let more people know about the business and make a positive impression on people who may have never heard of you before. This has led to them receiving applications off the back of referrals from previous young recruits, giving them access to a talent pool of young people who would make great future employees at Auberge.

As a local business Auberge are keen to help young people in Bucks and feel every business has an obligation to do the same as Anne outlines below:

‘The most common thing I hear from youngsters is that they can’t get in to jobs because people won’t employ them without experience. And if, as a business, you want experienced people, you’ve got to be prepared to give work experience opportunities’.

Tips for businesses on getting the most out of a work experience placement

  1. ‘If you’re just giving them the jobs that nobody wants to do and expect them to sound really interested and wanting to do it then you’re not going to get anything out of it’
  2. ‘Play to their strengths’ The reason Auberge offer the option to allow candidates to select the type of work they’ll do is because then they’ll have productive and proactive young workers within their business.
  3. ‘Never take more than one at a time… unless you’re a big business don’t take on more than one in the same area of the business’

Anne Scott – Managing director at Auberge Du Chocolat