Work experience courses are designed to provide volunteers with on-the-job training. Government agencies in many countries partner with businesses to offer these courses to high school students and undergraduates. Some agencies also run programs through which unemployed individuals can learn new skills.
In some countries, including the United Kingdom, the government requires high school students to spend a certain number of days or weeks working for local businesses. Typically, students are given the opportunity to work in the kinds of industries that they would like to work in when they have finished school. High school students involved in work experience courses, assume some of the duties of the full-time employees but they also spend time shadowing workers to see them perform complex tasks. Work experience courses are designed to prepare students for entering the workforce and to encourage students to attend college so that they can gain the necessary qualifications to earn high paying jobs.
Universities and colleges arrange work experience courses for undergraduates. These courses are often referred to as internships and in many instances, the courses are held between semesters. Employers view these courses as an opportunity to see prospective employees in action and in many instances, participants are offered full-time jobs at the end of the course. Students are given the opportunity to work at finance companies, medical facilities, engineering firms and other types of companies that employ large numbers of graduates and postgraduate students.
Over the course of time, technological advancements mean that the long-term unemployed often lack the necessary skills to perform many types of jobs. To alleviate unemployment, many regional and municipal governments offer cash or tax incentives to businesses that offer work experience courses to the unemployed. In many instances, these courses are designed for people who are seeking entry-level positions. Participants are often taught basic word-processing, typing and administrative skills. At the end of the course, the business may decide to offer some of the participants a permanent position.
Aside from government agencies, charitable organizations often provide students and the unemployed with the opportunity to learn new skills during working experience courses. These individuals are often tasked with operating phone lines, organizing fund-raising events and performing various types of administrative tasks. Many charitable groups heavily rely on the services of unpaid volunteers which mean that these organizations are ideally suited for these courses.
Prison authorities sometimes arrange work experience courses for inmates. These courses provide participants with the opportunity to acquire new skills that could prove useful when they are released from prison. Typically, these courses are held within the prison but in some instances local businesses partner with prisons to offer further on the job training to newly released inmates.