Work-Based Learning - Workplace Tour Activity Guide

  • Workplace Tour Fact Sheet
  • Coordinator Checklist
  • Required Documents
  • Implementation Tools

Workplace Tour Fact Sheet

What is a Workplace Tour?

A Workplace Tour is a highly-structured Career Awareness activity in which students visit a workplace, learn about the business, meet employees, ask questions and observe work in progress.

More than a simple field trip or site visit, a Workplace Tour is designed and structured to meet specific learning outcomes, be educationally rich, and build awareness of the business, its industry sector, its role in the economy and the career options it provides.

A Workplace Tour involves preparation and follow-up in the classroom, including research and reflection by students. Tours generally last between an hour-and-a-half to two hours.

Sustaining and growing Workplace Tours and all other work-based learning activities depend on maintaining positive relationships with the participating employers. These employers should be treated as valued customers and partners with frequent check-ins to address participation needs as they arise.

Workplace Tours are designed to:

  • Provide exposure to the industry sector, potential career opportunities and jobs.
  • Build occupational knowledge.
  • Build an understanding of the education and training needed for entry into careers in the industry.
  • Foster an understanding of the business’s workforce and its contributions to the community.

Workplace Tours are structured to:

  • Enhance workplace knowledge and build career awareness.
  • Illustrate how key academic concepts are applied in the real world.
  • Offer students a chance to ask questions and observe work in progress.
  • Promote student interaction with professional adults.

Workplace Tours are supported by:

  • Student preparation and follow-up in the classroom.
  • Research on the industry, the careers it offers and the hosting company.
  • Support for employer partners in delivering an engaging and interactive tour.
  • Opportunities to reflect upon the experience verbally and in writing.

Workplace Tours are connected to:

  • Classroom learning and preparation.
  • Individual career development/training plans.
  • A sequence of educational, training and workplace activities.
  • The student’s next step, by intentionally sequencing with future work-based or career-related classroom experiences.

Workplace Tours are one activity in the continuum of authentic work-based experiences provided to all students engaged in career-related programs or course of study in New York City schools.

Quick tips for Work-Based Learning Coordinators* to ensure a successful Workplace Tour

Before the Workplace Tour

  • Identify the appropriate employer contact and work with them to plan the tour, providing materials and support where needed.
  • Suggest that the employer bring in someone from the HR team to talk about entry-level recruitment.
  • Arrange for transportation, permission slips, food and other logistics.
  • Find out if safety gear is required and, if so, arrange for it to be provided.
  • Talk with teachers about how a workplace tour can help them meet curriculum goals and make the classroom connection.
  • Prepare students by having them research the company and practice their personal introduction.
  • Identify and document desired student learning objectives.

During the Workplace Tour

  • Work with the tour host. Make sure to provide time for introductions, an overview of the business and its operations and what to expect during the tour.
  • Ensure students and teachers receive instruction in workplace safety and an orientation to workplace norms.
  • Structure the tour so students see the full spectrum of activities and occupations within the company.
  • Help ensure that students can observe and interact with employees at different levels of responsibility in the organization.
  • If possible, have students experience some hands-on activity during the tour.
  • Have students experience the tour in small groups and ask questions as they arise.

After the Workplace Tour

  • Help students connect what they’re learning in class to what they experienced on the tour.
  • Provide individual and group reflection activities for students.
  • Suggest that students share their experiences via social media and tag the company in posts.
  • Support students in determining their next steps in learning about careers.
  • Debrief with the tour host.
  • Have the students write thank-you letters.
  • Assess the impact and value of this tour and utilize employer, teacher and student feedback to improve future tours. Document and archive information.
  • Help students update their Employability Skills Profile and think about any next steps they would like to take to further their career goals.

Go Deeper

  • Make the tour part of a project and have students prepare and deliver a presentation about the company after the tour.
  • Have students create a presentation about their career pathway and deliver it to the employer partner during the tour.
  • Take pictures from the tour and provide them to the company for their website or newsletter.
  • Publicize the tour and the business by placing a story in the local newspaper or posting on your webpage. (Make sure you clear this with the employer partner first.)
  • Consider other potential public relations benefits and opportunities.

*In New York State, this includes certified work-based learning coordinators and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for students.

Sample Timeline

  • Beginning of the School Year: Identify and communicate with potential sites. Determine dates.
  • Three months in advance: Confirm sites and dates. Share format options.
  • Two months in advance: Confirm format and travel logistics. Recruit students.
  • One month in advance: Collect forms. Prepare students.
  • One week in advance: Review orientation and logistics.
  • During the Workplace Tour: Facilitate agenda, student management and social media.
  • After the Workplace Tour: Thank-you notes, reflection and update Employability Skills Profile.

Tips for Success

  • Engage in proper planning and preparation.
  • Address safety, legal and logistical details.
  • Communicate with all parties.
  • Maximize learning potential.
  • Focus on building awareness.
  • Connect to the classroom.
  • Provide support for students and supervisors.
  • Promote student reflection.