Children standing at laboratory bench with man

Guidance for managers when offering a work experience placement

Permitted working hours

Under the Children and Young Persons Act, no child under 13 may be employed, and those aged between 13 and the minimum school-leaving age may not do any work, paid or unpaid:

  • Before 7am or after 7pm
  • For more than two hours on a school day or Sunday. However, where work experience is to be undertaken as part of the child’s school curriculum, the number of hours worked on a school day may be in excess of two hours and will generally be by agreement between the College, school, parent/guardian and child. 
  • Before the close of school hours (local bylaws may allow one hour before school)
  • For more than 12 hours a week in term-time
  • For more than 5 hours (13 to 14-year-olds) or 8 hours (15 to 16-year-olds) on Saturdays and during school holidays on weekdays
  • For more than 25 hours in total a week – 35 hours if aged 15 or over – during school holidays
  • For more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least one hour
  • In any occupations that may be harmful to their health, wellbeing or education

In addition, they must have a two week break from any work during the school holiday

For those aged between 16 and 17 there is a maximum 8 hour day or 40 hour week; hours cannot be averaged.  They must also have:

  • A break of 30 minutes every 4.5 hours of work
  • A rest period of 12 hours between each working day
  • 2 days off a week

Risk assessment

It is important to carry out a risk assessment, paying attention to the health and safety implications of employing young people.  Consideration of their immaturity as well as their inexperience should be noted when this is done. Further guidance on carrying out a risk assessment is available.  Managers should speak to Health and Safety directly regarding any concerns in this area.  Any dangerous activities should be avoided and arrangements should be made for adequate supervision.

Right to Work check

You are required to carry out Right to Work checks for young persons aged 16 years or over. Please note that the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 does not distinguish between paid and unpaid work, therefore these checks must be carried out before work experience can commence.

Guidance on how to carry out a Right to Work check is available on our Immigration pages.

Disclosure and Barring Service check - DBS

In line with the College’s Child Protection Policy, a member of staff who is likely to be or will be alone with a child under the age of 18  or a vulnerable adult as part of a work placement is required to obtain a satisfactory DBS clearance prior to the start of the placement.  Any queries regarding DBS checks should be directed to your designated HR Manager.

College guidance on Children and Young Persons on College premises

The College's Guidance Note: Safety of Children and Young Persons on College Premises should be consulted for advice on the actions departments should take in order to prevent children from being exposed to danger whilst on College premises. 

When a work experience placement is offered, managers should contact insurance@imperial.ac.uk to ensure that the individual is covered by employer’s insurance liability.

Parental consent form

In addition, where a child has arranged work experience directly with you, as opposed to through their school, it is advisable to request that their parent/legal guardian completes a parental consent form, to confirm that they agree to the placement, and to provide you with basic information such as emergency contact details.  You may wish to use the parental consent form and adapt it to your needs as required.

Further information

Further information on work experience, along with a downloadable employers’ guide is available from the Teachernet website.

Information for those looking for a work experience placement

Contacting departments to request work experience

The HR Division does not provide a service for finding or arranging work experience placements.

If you would like to undertake work experience, you may therefore wish to contact the department you are interested in working in to enquire whether they are able to accommodate your request. 

The departments listed below have information on the work experience they are able to organise:

Additionally, the Outreach website contains further information regarding work experience possibilities.