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Work experience

You will probably do work experience at some point during your school years. It's a great chance for you to get a taste of a job and see what skills you are going to need for the world of work.

The benefits of work experience

Work experience:

  • will make you more aware of the skills, attitudes, qualifications and experience required by employers
  • will give you an opportunity to learn more about yourself
  • may motivate you to learn more about jobs and careers
  • may create an awareness of the range of jobs within companies and give you an idea of how industry works
  • is an opportunity to learn new skills, develop communication, people and organisational skills, be part of a team, and use office equipment and IT
  • will help you to understand what you enjoy and don’t enjoy about particular jobs
  • will give you the chance to talk to people who are already doing the job to gain insight and knowledge
  • may make you more employable and can be included in your CV
  • will make school or academic learning work more relevant

Arranging work experience

You should follow these pointers when arranging work experience.

  • research the job/career areas you are interested in
  • have more than one idea in case your first choice does not work out
  • talk to teachers, family and friends for advice
  • if your school cannot provide a placement, check local companies or organisations (keep your teacher informed)
  • if you are a student with a disability, your specific needs should be discussed with your careers teacher and the organisation/company involved

Make the most of work experience

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your work experience:

  • choose work experience in a job you think you might enjoy as a career
  • find out about the company and job before you go
  • before you start - agree the hours you will work, who you will report to and what you will be expected to do
  • make employers aware of what would like to gain from the experience
  • ask as many questions as possible
  • keep a record of everything you learn whilst on work experience, your may consider keeping a daily diary
  • be professional at all times and don’t complain if you get bored
  • be aware of any health and safety issues
  • if you enjoyed the work experience keep in contact with the employer as it could lead to information about vacancies
  • write a note of appreciation to your manager or supervisor (this creates a good impression and may help you get a reference)