A buddy book

Design work experience buddy book
A book you can give to work experience students to help them through the week – just like a member of staff standing next to them all week, only better!

This book is supplied as an InDesign file so you can customise it for your studio.

  • templates to describe your studio and introduce your team.
  • an outline of the legal stuff
  • a list of expectations for the students
  • an outline of a student's responsibilities
  • hints for the student to get them through the week.

Price: $27.50 inc gst
The book will be supplied as a zipped file.
Place your order here.
Once payment is verified you will be sent the zipped file.

Roles and responsibilities

Remember it is work experience.

Work Experience is a short term placement of secondary school students in a design studio, to provide insights into the design industry and a studio. Students are doing design work experience mainly to observe and learn – not to undertake projects that require extensive training or experience. They are there to see how a design studio operates, if they can do that while completing some low level tasks it is all the better for everyone.

What is your ‘duty of care’ as an employer?

You have legal obligations to provide a safe and healthy studio environment for your employees and the same goes for work experience students. They are owed the same duty of care, and you must take all the same steps to safeguard them during their time with you.

You must assess your workplace to determine which activities can be safely managed. Students should be given tasks which are interesting and which will give them an understanding of how a studio operates. However, you must take care NOT to place them at risk, and you must provide supervision at all times.

For example it may not be a good idea to give a student the job of cutting out mockups to make prototypes. Using a scalpel safely may not be a skill they have.

What can you expect of the student?

Work experience students cannot be expected to possess the judgment or maturity of your other staff however you should expect the student to comply with workplace rules and procedures. The students using the Work Experience workbook will have been told to ask about studio procedures and to make a record of them in their workbook. Explain those requirements and provide any necessary information, instruction and training.

The importance of planning

The most rewarding work experience programs are planned in advance. Develop a program for students before they arrive, setting out proposed activities for each day and identifying the people who will supervise them at different times. Even though your timetable may have to change, a planned program enables supervisors to prepare meaningful activities.

Safe systems of work

Studio members will know the risks and controls you have in place but your work experience student will not. It’s important to take time to explain to the student what the hazards are, why the risk controls are in place and how they are put into practice. The student should be recording these in their workbook.

Induction and supervision

Students will not be familiar with the studio, or the way things are done in any workplace for that matter. Show the student through the studio and explain what happens in each part of the studio. Like any new designer, it will take them a few days to remember names and find their way around. The first thing you must do – on their first morning with you – is induct the student using the Buddy Book available on this site. It should be introduced by you or the nominated supervisor. Take it slowly, and reinforce key information (eg supervisory arrangements, no-go areas and excluded activities).

The following are the ‘must do’ elements when introducing a student to your workplace:

Introductions and responsibilities

The student may be supervised directly by more than one person during the week. Introduce those who are available, and make a note of people the student will need to catch up with later. Inform the student that their health and safety is your most important concern during their stay. Explain your legal duty of care for them, and that in turn they must observe any requirements you have established to safeguard employees and others. If you have a Health and Safety Manual spend a few minutes going through it to explain.


Students must report directly to you or a supervisor when entering, leaving and returning to the studio. It is important that they do this to protect your interests. If you give a supervisor role to a designer, brief them so they are able to answer questions and provide the right information and instruction. That will ensure the student understands the tasks they are given and can undertake them safely.

During induction explain who the student should report to if their supervisor is not present or available.

First aid and emergencies

Explain who is responsible for first aid and what to do if they need first aid. Explain emergency evacuation procedures, and show them the evacuation plan and muster points. In an emergency, the student must follow direction from their supervisor or from identified wardens.

Health and Safety reporting

Explain your health and safety reporting process and encourage them to raise any health or safety concerns. Make sure that the student understands they should not continue with any activity they feel is risky.

Workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination

Explain your studio policy regarding bullying, harassment and/or discrimination. Make sure the student understands they can report any concern directly to the studio owner or their supervisor or to their teacher.

Medical information

Check that you have all necessary medical information. Ask them to notify you of any condition (eg asthma, allergies or epilepsy) that could require treatment.
Are they taking any prescription medication? (The information must be kept confidential as far as is practicable.)

Use the induction checklist in the Buddy book to make sure you have covered all of the above..

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