Work Experience Programme


The Department for Communities works with employers to offer the opportunity to obtain meaningful work experience to those who are seeking work through the Work Experience Programme.

Offering meaningful work experience

The Work Experience Programme provides employers with the opportunity to offer meaningful work experience which can provide a valuable contribution to the development of people’s employability skills and career aspirations.

The work experience placement may be within private, public, voluntary or community sector businesses or organisations. Placements must be organised in a variety of real work environments which help a jobseeker develop or update their work skills or habits. The emphasis must be to provide jobseekers with meaningful work experience that will be of real benefit to them in their journey towards employment.

The Work Experience Programme is open to 16-65 year olds who are unemployed or in receipt of benefits. Employers who provide a person with a work experience placement may receive an incentive payment of £250.

Opportunity Guarantee

The Opportunity Guarantee strand of the Work Experience Programme is for young people aged 16-24 years old. Employers may provide Opportunity Guarantee placements where they will be in a position to offer the young person an interview for a job or apprenticeship at the end of the placement.

Employers who provide an Opportunity Guarantee placement will receive an additional £250 incentive payment at the end of the placement.

Eligibility for the Work Experience Programme

Employers will be asked to sign an agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the programme.

For the Work Experience Programme, employers need to be willing to host a work experience participant for a period of two to eight weeks.

For Opportunity Guarantee, employers need to be willing to host a participant for a period of thirteen weeks, be in a recruitment position and willing to offer participants an interview for a job or apprenticeship.

Employers will not be asked to make any payments to participants on the programme. Participants will retain their benefit entitlement during the period of work experience.

Further information

You can contact an Employer Adviser in your local Jobs and Benefits office

Large or public sector employers should contact a Client Executive in the Strategic Employment Service by emailing for more information.