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Below are some questions that are frequently asked by employers. If you have any queries or would like to talk to someone about providing work experience opportunities or training placements, please do not hesitate to send us a message or to contact your local centre. We'd be delighted to hear from you.

I’d like to offer work experience/placement to a National Learning Network student. Can you tell me what is involved?

1. Work Experience provides the student with the opportunity to explore employment areas, test their skills in employment and acts as a work trial leading to a job. Work experience is normally of short duration (e.g. four weeks). The work experience can be conducted over a set period of time, e.g. four consecutive weeks, or can be staggered, e.g. one day per week for 10 weeks.

2. A training place involves an employer providing on-the-job training to a student, with support provided from National Learning Network staff. The purpose of a training place is to train the student to do the job. Students normally spend three days per week with the employer and placements are usually 9 months to a year in duration.     

As an employer, are there any cost implications in offering work experience/placements to National Learning Network Learners?

No. There is no cost to you in having a student from National Learning Network on work experience or on a training place. You do not need to pay the student as they receive a training allowance from SOLAS. All we request is that you give honest and constructive feedback on the student’s progress. 

What are the benefits to me and my company?

Already hundreds of companies – large and small – across Ireland have benefited from the experience of offering training places and/or work experience to our student.    
There are many benefits for an employer. Firstly, they gain from having a motivated, cost-free student who will be developed within the culture and ethos of that employment setting. They also benefit by receiving Disability Awareness training, both for themselves and their staff, and from having greater diversity in their work place. Research shows that morale in the business improves and the employer enhances his/her reputation as a socially responsible employer. 

Who will support me if I offer a National Learning Network student either work experience or a training placement within my company?

You will be provided with the name and mobile number of the student's work co-ordinator. This person will have an in-depth knowledge of the student and will be available to offer support and assist you with their training and development. You will also be able to contact your local centre and talk to the manager.

Will you supply assistive technology if it is required by the student?

The majority of National Learning Network students do not have assistive technology requirements. However, we will supply any aid or adaptation that may be required. In all cases, National Learning Network will attempt to match the needs and goals with the Learner with the employer needs.

Will my company receive Disability Awareness training?

Yes. Disability Awareness training is provided on an informal basis. This focuses on generic disability issues and in raising awareness around the needs of the individual student.

Are there any insurance costs or implications for employers?

Yes. Host Employers must notify their own Employers Liability Insurers of the placement in order to ensure that their potential liability to the Trainee is fully covered. National Learning Network's insurance programme provides protection for its legal liability for injury or illness arising out of such work placements.

Will I have to employ the student at the end of their course?

No. We don’t require any commitments on behalf of the employers with regards to employment. It has been our experience that employers do subsequently employ many of our students on the basis that they are motivated, can do the job, and are familiar with the company, its staff and procedures. As result, employers find that their recruitment and training costs are significantly reduced.

What about Health and Safety issues?

All our students are given Health and Safety and Manual Handling training prior to going on work experience/training placement. As far as practical, we match the student to the employer and the job. We do expect our students to be included in any Health and Safety or other relevant training while on the job.    

How do I find out more information on providing work experience opportunities or training placements to students with National Learning Network?

For further information on providing work experience or training places to our students, please contact your local National Learning Network Manager, who would be happy to be of assistance and answer any of your queries. Details of your local National Learning Network centre can be found by clicking on our map of centres page.

If you have a question that isn't answered in the above FAQ, don't hesitate to contact us.