Employing under the age of 18, students and work experience

Employing Under 18

There may be occasions when a person under the age of 18 is required to undertake work for the University. There are clear rules about such employment and this document provides further information. Please note that children under the age of 16 are not permitted to be employed.

  • They are not permitted to work more than 8 hours per day or more than 40 hours per week. (There is no opt out for this and the totals cannot be averaged out over a period of time)
  • They must have a rest break of at least 30 minutes every four and a half hours
  • They must have a 12 hour rest period between finishing work and commencing again
  • They must have two days off per week
  • They are not permitted to work between the hours of 10pm and 6am

All staff and students must comply with the Safeguarding Policy and where appropriate, disclosure checks will be carried out to ensure that members of the University working with children do not have criminal convictions that would preclude them from working with children. Further information on the University’s disclosure procedures are available.

Training has been provided to staff and students who are required to have contact with children as part of their duties. Training will continue to be provided as necessary.

If parents/carers have any concerns about the treatment of a child whilst on campus, they should speak with the member of staff in charge. If they remain concerned, they may contact one of the University’s Child Protection Officers

For specific roles, such as those involving the sale of alcohol it is not permitted to employ anyone under the age of 18. Please discuss any specific circumstances with your HR Representative if necessary. 

Employing students and work experience

This policy sets out Loughborough University’s approach to engaging students and graduates from LU or any other external organisation in the workplace. Although it focuses on students, some parts of this policy (e.g. volunteer work) can be applied to members of the public.  

These guidelines are to ensure that opportunities are managed appropriately and in line with best practice to avoid legal claims and negative publicity.


Graduate Internships

  • Internships are career developmental opportunities providing practical experience in a field or discipline.
  • They are structured and normally last for around 3 years.
  • Internships are predominantly advertised positions and the selection process will mirror the University’s recruitment procedures (i.e. approval via HR/Finance, contract issued following a request to offer to the HR department).

Undergraduate Placements

  • Placements are part of an academic programme and take place during the academic year, including vacation periods.  
  • Placements provide students with the opportunity to gain  transferable skills and valuable work experience.
  • Placements are predominantly advertised positions and the selection process will mirror the University’s recruitment procedures (i.e. approval via HR/Finance, contract issued following a request to offer to the HR department).
  • Placement students must be paid on spinal point 7, grade 3.
  • In the event that a School wishes to employ a Placement Student and pay less than spinal point 7, or in the event that a student wishes to work at the University on an unpaid basis, a request must be made to the Director of Student Services or Head of the Careers and Employability Centre (CEC) for LU students or the Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development for non-LU students

Examples include:

  • A placement has ended during the year, and the student  still needs  to complete the DPS/DIS),. This will only be permissible where the placement forms part of the student’s course. The student must have completed at least 25 weeks of work in their previous placement(s) to be eligible to do an unpaid placement at LU.

Note, where an LU student’s placement has ended before the completion of their placement year, there is no onus on Schools/Departments to provide a placement opportunity for a student.

  • A placement student has secured at least 25 weeks with another organisation(s), but has been unable to source further opportunities in order to complete the 45 weeks required to receive the DPS/DIS.

This policy applies to placement students wishing to do a research based placement. 

Work experience and work shadowing for LU students on campus

  • LU students may undertake a short-term period (from a few hours up to 4 weeks) of unpaid work experience or work shadowing.
  • Short term work experience/work-shadowing opportunities are usually advertised via Careers Online and/or in Schools and may form part of the ‘Workshadow Scheme’ co-ordinated by the CEC
  • These provide the opportunity for students to gain a valuable insight into the ‘world of work’. Students may be expected to arrive at set times but will not be expected to ‘do’ any work with a material output.

Work experience for non-LU students

  • These are usually short term unpaid opportunities for school/FE students under 19 years of age, and should be pursued via the student’s school, college or higher education institution who should contact the host department directly.
  • Students are eligible for work experience if they are in their last two years of compulsory education or taking post-16 courses.
  • Pre-16 placements generally will last for 2 weeks, and post-16 placements can be more varied in length.
  • Staff who work with a person under 18/adults in vulnerable situations as part of a work placement or otherwise may need a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. It is a criminal offence to knowingly employ an individual barred by the DBS to work in regulated activity with children under 18/adults in vulnerable situations. A regulated position is one whose duties involve teaching, caring for, training, supervising, advising, treating or transporting children/vulnerable adults, either frequently, intensively and/or overnight. In the majority of cases supervision of young people on a short-term work experience placement will not fall within this definition of regulated activity. Good practice to enable the protection of all parties is to ensure that students on placement are not permitted to work unsupervised or in close confines with another individual.

Volunteer work

  • Someone may volunteer to do unpaid work so that they can gain valuable experience in the workplace.
  • It may be carried out for personal or career development, e.g. work shadowing.
  • In all cases, volunteer work will usually be short term (up to 4 weeks) or intermittent.
  • The volunteer must not be under an obligation to carry out the work
  • Receipted reasonable expenses may be paid to the volunteer (this is at the School/Departments’ discretion)

General employment

  • Schools and Professional Services may employ students in circumstances other than those described above, e.g. to cover short term work over the summer, for example.
  • Normal rules regarding employing staff, including appropriate rates of pay will apply.

It is the responsibility of the department and/or School to keep a record of the work experience students they authorise and take along with the relevant risk assessments and relevant points of contact for the duration of the placement.

Work experience

Guidance to ensure that there is consistency across the University when employing on a work experience placement.

Contracts: To determine whether a work placement student should be paid, consider the following:

  • Will the person be providing a service on behalf of the University?
  • Will the person be taking/contributing on a project?
  • Would the department employ someone else to do this job if they were not taking on a work experience placement?

If the answer was ‘yes’ to any of the above, payment should be made for the placement period and a contract will be issued, based on the information provided in the offer form and the approval from Operations Sub-Committee (only applicable to grade 6 or above).  The employee will be subject to the Conditions of Service relevant to the role which they will be undertaking, and contract extensions, terminations, and periods of notice will be treated in the normal way.

However if a person is going to be work shadowing a member of staff or is at the University purely for their own benefit (e.g college project), then this placement will not be paid.  (Please note if you do not intend to pay the work experience placement, a contract will not be issued).  

Salary: Will be based on the grade appropriate for the job.  It would be unusual for Work Experience Placements to be paid higher than the bottom point of a grade, given that the role will be very much developmental in focus.

Costs: When employing, short or long term staff, it is important to consider any additional costs involved. eg. Pension auto-enrolment will apply if an employee meets the threshold of earnings. 

If you have any questions or are unsure of what action to take, please contact your HR representative.