Whatever the size of your business you may find it beneficial to take on students for work experience, in addition by doing so you make a valuable contribution to education and as such society as a whole.
There is no requirement to pay a student for work experience so no financial loss is made as such by taking in a student for a period of time, but one must consider that time spent teaching them some of the ropes of graphic design could have a dent on office productivity and hence a financial impact if the student is in residence for a long period of time.
Presumably however if the student is in your office for a long period of time they should reach a level of skill sufficient to actually make up for your time spent teaching them, by offering design skills in return for at least some basic tasks.
You may find that even if lacking in experience, a student may still bring your graphic design business fresh ideas, fresh enthusiasm and creativity.
Do make sure that your ‘unpaid’ work experience person is indeed a student taking on work experience as a part of their course however otherwise you could fall foul of the law.
Government legislation with regards to the National Minimum Wage means that employers in the UK are not permitted to offer unpaid work experience to a student unless it is specifically a part of a higher education course. In addition, the maximum period of time an employer can take on a graphic design student for unpaid work experience in the design industry would be one year.
Students who are aged 18 and above who are taking a gap year between school and higher education, must also be paid the National Minimum Wage for any work they do for your firm.
Students should make note of this information also.
If unsure that you want to enter the graphic design industry, or if wanting to develop your skills and learn more, work experience is an excellent way to explore the industry.
By doing a graphic design work experience placement it can help you focus on which particular areas of graphic design interest you the most and also help you decide whether you want to be an employee within a design company, or work for yourself as a freelancer.
Unfortunately demand for work experience is high and if you want a placement with the companies that you feel you will gain the most from you’ll need to make sure you stand out. When approaching companies provide them with a CV that tells them about your education, any work experience so far, you aspirations and a bit about you as a person.
Really if you want the best placements you need to pull together a design portfolio because a graphic design firm or freelancer spending their time teaching you new skills, really do prefer to accept a work experience person with at least some basic graphic design skills they might be able to make some use of in the office.
For instance if you just spent an hour talking to your design student about how to deal with clients, make contracts, or draw something in Illustrator, it’s a real bonus if you think they can recoup some of that time by doing some design work that you may be able to use, or contributing creatively in another way that saves time.
Those are the type of students a firm will be most attracted to and also those that appear friendly and with good communication skills.
After all, who wants a silent creepy nut job in the office for two weeks? lol ..