When I had one at my old place within a day he was swapping out rooms pretty much single handed, imaging PCs with SCCM, updating stock list and even got sent into a few classrooms to fix Smartboard issues (under supervision but fairly autonomous). Did the PC building exercise and taught him a few of the little "tricks of the trade" - at the end of it I basically had an extra technician for a week or so :)
Depends on how good \ willing to learn the person is obviously but if you get a good one they can be very useful!
When I worked in Australia, the employment law said that you couldn't give work experience people menial tasks or productive work. I use the same philosophy now. In private enterprise, work experience people are a pain - while you'll looking after them, the company isn't making money. On the plus side, you can take them with you on client visits, which shows them what real it is like.
In education, when I was network manager, and if I have them for a week, I give them this project Build a Six-headed, Six-user Linux System LG #124 I had a box of random bits, and I'd have them select some bits for a computer, with three graphics cards and at least 8 usb ports. Run it up and perform hardware tests; there was one dodgy ram stick in the box, which they would have to remove. When it was all working correctly, install Linux. Finally I'd help them configure it to run the multi-head config. Test it, and then write a report on the advantages and disadvantages of such a system. This report meant they had something in the future to wave at a prospective employer or they could use it towards their project.
Now, I only get them for a day and I explain to them the mysteries of websites, why we use a cms, and we make a change to the website. I also run through installing software. Our hardware techie gets them for a day, and he explains to them the mysteries of PC hardware and takes them around the college on the various hardware jobs, which can be chuck a toner in a printer, replacing a lamp in a projector, fixing a PC, etc.
when i was on WE at my old site before i was offered a job there.
i started off on AD then, basic diag followed by building laptops then handing them to the member of staff (that was the scary part i went mute at that stage)
this then leaded to me starting on some server work----> building a media streaming solution for the school
Complete waste of my time when I could be working on one of the eight server that I seem to have taken over.
Luckily the new temp tech still wants to impress so he did it.
My WE was ok, started of just following him around and then got told, here's a blank server install, configure, and design a moodle VLE.
Learnt a lot from it as it gets you into AD An other server rolls.
Work Experience is exactly that - Experience of work and the industry in particular. When I did work experience I ended up in the Civic Centre Library and it was brilliant - they put together a varied program for me giving me a total induction to a wide variety of library tasks - I even went out on the book bus for a day.
That student probably requested an IT role and is probably quite excited about seeing what you guys do and seeing how the IT industry works 'behind the scenes'. First thing to find out is exactly how technical he is - I doubt he'd have applied for an IT role if he didn't have some interest so it is worth finding out how much. Put together a timetable of things for him to be involved with - if a large part of the role is servicing tickets then let him service some tickets. Get him into the server room doing something specific - if you are doing a bunch of cable maintenance get him to help out. Work Experience students can't be expected to just 'know' stuff though so they will need explicit instruction and some supervision.
Building VMs is probably a good place to start - get him a PC with a chunky HDD and virtual box and invent a mini network for him to build to show him what it is like managing that sort of thing. We have a great task for new Smoothwall Engineers where they must use virtualbox or VMWare to build a whole cluster of interconnected Smoothwalls on different subnets with VPNs, Hardware Failover, Parent and child replication etc with Zone bridging, an AD server and a workstation. Something like that would keep him busy for AGES and it only has to be fairly simple but would give him a good idea of the complexities involved in network management as he'd have to look into subnetting, routing, zone bridging etc.
I did this for work experience tasks for an internal child
Get them to build a machine from old parts
Get them to install linux on it (Ubuntu, Mint, whatever)
Get them to look up some instructions on how to add proxy details etc
Get them to look up some command line instructions
Get them to secure the machine
Then install Windows as a dual boot
That would last 2 days
Day 3 would be a play on a VM where they could not affect anything critical, they could set up the server how they liked and could test various features of group policy, active directory and how it played with Windows and Linux
That would last until Friday
Friday would be an "any other questions" day and have them shadow either myself or the tech for the day. It got them interested in IT as they came up after school every day to help with the maintenance of the rest of the schools machines.
When I was working at college as a Tech, I had young'uns under me, I'd actually take them on jobs with me that came in this could be anything like network problems/printers/laptops/PC's etc etc. They usually got given a limited admin guest account so that they could do basic stuff like change a password.
When we were upgrading the Nortel Switches we had the trainees putting the switches in the racks and showing them good cable / rack management etc. One lad bless him, had to call me so he could fix a printer he got really far to fixing it he had it printing again but it needed some alterations in Novell iPrinter so only I could do that but he worked like a champ, he was always running about the college doing little jobs.. He even got to look in the main server room once ;).
The way I looked at it was... The young trainees from school are actually wanting to be in IT, some of them were doing Cisco in school so to get hands on doing stuff was good. We had a test room also with some quite old Windows 2003 servers and machines in there. It was quite and ol store room but it was big so we'd send a couple of them in there and get them learning AD/DNS etc ... I think we put some of the old Nortels in there so they could get everything talking to each other.
It was good experience for them.
Get him to build a test network and go over the real basics of Active Directory and basic networking. I've been giving small 15 minutes talks to small groups of Yr 10s on the GCSE Computing, showing them the server room, etc and I ask them what any of them know what an IP address is - they all just look blank at me. It could be a real foundation for anyone who really wants to be in IT to understand the real basics of an ip address.
PS. Where are you @pslater ? I notice your avatar says Calne, Wilts - just down the road from where I live (Derry Hill).
get them to sort the screw tubs out
I remember my Work Experience which consisted of brew runs, stuffing envelopes, and watching someone input invoices - needless to say I was bored!
What most employers should be doing is treating the person as if they are coming in to fill a role - so a full intro of the job, tasks, bit and bats - give them a good look into what it is you do and see if they want to become a mini-you.
What I've done in the past here is:
* Introduction to the Site we support
* Introduction to the Servers we use (ie what is saved on where, how to access it, etc)
* Introduction to the Software we support (standard Office, Exchange, bespoke software, etc)
* Introduction to how we support sites (remote desktop software - acceptable use/manners VS bad usage)
* Introduction to the hardware sites use (PC's, how the image is prepped and distributed, how you install it, how to repair WB's and projectors, etc)
That should take you about 2-3 days, then onto some basic troubleshooting methods and get them into the habit of trying to diagnose things and try to fix them.
Then get them to shadow someone "decent" for the next few days and go from showing them how to diagnose/repair/install to getting them to do it.
Also - an introduction to certifications would be a great help as well (as in what you need to start out, what you will need to do certain jobs ie network manager, Desktop Support, etc).
I was lucky with mine. I did three weeks at a middle school in Mansfield (I guess the Mansfield but isn't that lucky!) got to help out in classes, take computer club at lunchtimes and do the art class with the other work experience placement. We also got to go on a couple of field trips. I don't think I made a single brew during my time there :)