6 Limitations of WEP

While many work experience sites offer a valuable and realistic introduction to the concept and expectations of work, work experiences have limitations and are very different from experience gained through paid employment. Some of the limitation which have been reported are noted below.

  • As work experiences are time-limited, employers may choose not to involve students in tasks or projects which extend beyond the WEP
  • Employers may be reluctant to invest as much time and resources with a WEP student as there is no long-term payoff, i.e., the student will be leaving
  • Employer expectations may be lower for a WEP student than a paid employee
  • WEP students do not do “the whole job” they are usually doing specific tasks, or portions of a typical paid role
  • The employer may not want to invest time in training a WEP student on more complex or long-term tasks as their term is limited.
  • While an employer may be eager to participate in WEP partnerships, the employees/supervisors who are working directly with the student may not.
  • The degree to which social inclusion actually takes place varies considerably
  • Language barriers in some settings can limit opportunities for social inclusion
  • Employers/supervisors are sometimes uncomfortable or reluctant in providing honest and direct feedback.
  • There may be emotional repercussions in the case of WEP mismatch. While students have a right to explore and take risks, sometimes a WEP is not a “fit” and there is the risk that the student will perceive this as a personal failure.
  • Employer burnout or WEP site becoming “stale”. Some employers are willing to take students on an ongoing basis, but may not maintain the initial commitment to training standards.

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Limitations of WEP by Nicola Soles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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