An Introduction to Employment or Work Experience in a Community-Business Partnership

Employment or work experience-related community business partnership models are appealing because they offer a real hands-on learning opportunity for those involved.

Work experience can provide a community group member (or someone supported by a community group) get vital but often hard to find on-the-job experience. This can mean an increased chance of employment for those taking part, as well as a more skilled community sector from which businesses can draw staff.

For businesses work experience provides the option of offering direct employment to people associated with their community business partner (the group’s volunteers or members, for example), or the people it is working to help – young people, indigenous people, or people with a disability, for example – by targeting employment to these groups.

Again, this sort of partnership model provides an exchange and sharing of knowledge, as well as providing vital on-the-job experience for those involved.

Both methods of partnership see skills and knowledge transferred from business to a community group, or group member, or client. This makes for a stronger community and allows the individual to develop skills they can take back to their community group.

Ways work experience or employment can be incorporated into your community business partnership include:

  • A plumber offering appropriate work experience to those attending an adult education centre, or a law firm working with a school to offer experience to legal studies students.
  • A firm which appeals to young people – a record store or a surfwear shop – seeking young people nominated by a partnering youth group for work experience or full-time employment. Similarly, businesses can aim to employ indigenous people, or those with a disability.

Businesses with employment programs targeted at particular groups will need to ensure that these are consistent with the relevant anti-discrimination legislation.  

It will also be necessary to ensure that the person concerned is covered by appropriate compensation schemes and that insurance is adequate. Both parties should also be clear about the terms and conditions of the employment, the term of the employment, and the amount of training or instruction that will be provided.