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Workplace Tour Activity Guide

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.

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 the Los Angeles/Orange County Regional Consortium.


Quick tips for those charged with arranging and supporting work-based learning activities to ensure successful Workplace Tours.

Before the Workplace Tour ...

  • Identify the appropriate employer contact and work with that person 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 faculty members 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 faculty 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, faculty and student feedback to improve future tours. Document and archive information.
  • Help students 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.

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Sample Workplace Tour Timeline

  • Beginning of the 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 and reflection.

When you go on a workplace tour, you’ll get a chance to look behind the scenes of a business or company and ask yourself if this is somewhere you can see yourself working in the future. Keep the following things in mind as you get ready for the tour.

Before the Workplace Tour ...

  • Turn in all required forms.
  • Learn what the dress code is for the place you’re visiting.
  • Research the company—how they got started, the kinds of jobs they have and how they contribute to your community.
  • Think about what you want to learn and come up with at least three questions about the company or the careers it offers.
  • Practice your elevator pitch. Include your name, grade, why you are in this program and what you’d like to do with your future. Summarize your knowledge, skills, accomplishments and anything else that would make an employer see you positively.

During the Workplace Tour ...

  • Pay attention to what’s going on at the worksite. Can you see yourself working in a place like this? What kinds of jobs are you interested in?
  • Actively participate. Ask the questions you came up with and any others that will help you determine if a career in this industry is for you.
  • See if you can connect what’s going on in the workplace with what you’re learning in the classroom.
  • If you have a chance, ask the people you meet for their business cards or see if they’ll connect with you on LinkedIn.

After the Workplace Tour ...

  • Talk to your classmates and faculty members about the workplace tour and your feelings about pursuing a career in that industry. What kind of jobs do you want to know more about? Would you be interested in going on another tour in the future? What kind of education will it take to get there?
  • Write a thank-you note to the people who hosted the tour.
  • Fill out the tour evaluation. Be honest. What worked for you? That will help improve future tours.
  • Think about any next steps you’d like to take to further your career goals.

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Are You Ready for the Tour?

Have you...

  • Turned in your forms?
  • Decided what to wear?
  • Researched the company?
  • Crafted your questions?
  • Polished your resume?
  • Practiced your pitch?

Some Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

Do ...

  • Choose your profile picture carefully.
  • Keep a professional profile.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile and build your personal brand.
  • Maintain privacy. If you don’t want something to be seen by all, don’t post it on the internet.

Don’t ...

  • Post illegal activities.
  • Threaten violence.
  • Lie about professional and academic achievements.

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.

Before the Workplace Tour ...

  • Review the Workplace Tour Fact Sheet and assess how a tour can support classroom activities and help meet curriculum goals.
  • Review the plan for the tour with the coordinator and decide where you can be helpful.
  • Identify and document desired student learning objectives.
  • Discuss expectations for the tour with students and point out what they might learn from it.
  • Have students research the employer and prepare at least three meaningful questions to ask during the tour. What do they want to know about the company and the industry?

During the Workplace Tour ...

  • Attend the tour and work with the tour coordinator to support aspects of the tour.
  • Support the employer by making sure students are attentive, polite and engaged.
  • Help connect what you see at the workplace with classroom topics.

After the Workplace Tour...

  • Provide individual and group reflection activities for students. Help them make the connection between the classroom and the workplace.
  • Support students in determining their next steps in learning about careers.
  • Provide feedback to help assess the impact and value of the tour.
  • Document and archive information about the tour.
  • Have students write thank-you notes to the employer partner.
  • Suggest students share a post about the day via social media, tagging the company in posts.

Go Deeper

  • Guide students through a comparison of the culture and style of the workplace with others they have observed, including behavioral and communication expectations.
  • Make the tour part of a project and have students prepare and deliver a presentation to others at the college about the company.
  • Take pictures from the tour and provide them to the company for their website or newsletter. Ensure you have signed releases for all photos.
  • Publicize the tour and business by placing a story in the local newspaper or posting on the college website.

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The Classroom Connection: Preparation and Reflection

  • Support students in recognizing the curriculum connection.
  • Structure a reflection activity based on a “What? So what? Now what?” format.

Thanks for agreeing to be a host for a workplace tour! In preparing for the visit, keep the following tips in mind.

Before the Workplace Tour...

  • Review the information packet about the college and the objectives of the tour.
  • Let the work-based learning coordinator know who the main contact is and provide email/phone, etc.
  • Work with your coordinator to design an engaging tour of your workplace.
  • Let the coordinator know where the visiting group should park and enter the building. Include information about security procedures and appropriate dress.
  • If safety gear is required at the worksite, arrange for it to be available.
  • Brief the employees who will be involved in the tour. Provide an overview of your partnership with the sponsoring college or program, what to expect during the tour, their role and why their involvement is important.

During the Workplace Tour...

  • Provide an overview of the business, its operations and what to expect during the tour.
  • Provide instruction in workplace safety, if needed,and an orientation to workplace norms.
  • Bring in someone from HR to talk about entry-level recruitment and careers at the company.
  • If possible, arrange for students to participate in small groups.
  • Have students observe, hear from and speak to employees with different levels of responsibility and roles in your company.
  • See if any of your employees are connected to the college in some way and make sure those individuals get to talk with the students.
  • Make sure students are exposed to a range of career options in your industry, and let them know what it will take for them to be hired when they complete their education and training.

After the Workplace Tour...

  • Debrief with your team.
  • Provide feedback to the work-based learning coordinator to improve future tours.
  • Consider how you might use the tour to promote your company’s visibility in the community.

Go Deeper

  • Explore ways that you might further interest students and grow the pool of potential future employees.
  • Talk to the work-based learning coordinator about being a classroom speaker or guest trainer, helping with curriculum, or hosting students for Job Shadows, Jobs or Internships.

On a workplace tour, 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.

Why are Workplace Tours important for students?

  • Provides exposure to potential careers and jobs, and helps identify potential interests as well as those occupations not of interest.
  • Helps build occupational knowledge and familiarity with the education and training needed for success in the industry.
  • Helps make the connection between academic theory and practical application.
  • Creates awareness of the business’s role in the community, as well as its functions, processes, products and employees.

What are the benefits to my company?

  • Exposes potential future workers to job opportunities and careers with your company.
  • Introduces your employees to students, which helps them understand how to communicate with the next generation of workers.
  • Helps current employees feel good about the company’s commitment to education and the community.
  • Promotes an understanding of the role and contributions of your business.

What do I need to do next?

  • Contact your work-based learning coordinator.
  • Arrange for a presentation to those of your employees who will be hosting the tour.
  • Consider any impacts on company policy.

Resources

  • Distribute the Employer Workplace Tour Tip Sheet to interested employees.
  • Review Employer Participation Options Fact Sheet to learn more about how to get the most out of your partnership with the Los Angeles/Orange County Regional Consortium.

all guides

Activity Summary

  • Program Level: All.Employer/Student
  • Ratio: Varies. 1 or 2 employees to 20+ students.
  • Duration: Usually 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Frequency: One time
  • Location: Workplace
  • Costs: Staff time