If you’re currently studying at school, college, university, or even in a gap year, you may have thought about work experience. Work experience can enable you to gain a further understanding of your field of interest and decide whether the pathway is suited to you. Gaining that extra experience may be what helps you to stand out from a crowd, not to forget, it also looks great on your CV!
So, what is Work Experience?
Work experience is a temporary role in a working environment, which allows you to gain and develop further skills, whilst growing an understanding as to whether your chosen field of interest is what you want to pursue as a career. Usually, work experience is unpaid work, which you may complete during your time in education, or whilst on a gap year. Work experience helps to provide valuable opportunities to develop industry-specific skills and to gain a deeper knowledge of dynamics in the workplace. Through work experience, you will be exposed to different transferable skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, which are all skills highly valued by employers. You can find out more on work experience and work placements via Runshaw College's website. So, what are the different types of work experience?
School Work Experience
Schoolwork experience is often completed in high school, in Year 10, or occasionally in Year 11. If you go to Sixth Form or a further education college, you might also get a chance to do additional work experience in Year 12. School work experience programs typically last for one to two weeks and are often organised with the school in collaboration with local businesses. During the work experience, you will be assigned tasks set by the employer suited to their interests, to gain valuable insights into the industry. Schoolwork experience aims to provide students with a clearer understanding of the working environment. You can find out more about school work experience via the Government website.
Vocational Work Placement
Whilst studying and working towards a vocational qualification, such as a BTEC, you may be expected to carry out work experience as a part of the course, in order to pass. Typically, this can involve regular and ongoing placements, with perhaps one day a week in the workplace, or like to schoolwork experience, a short single placement. Work experience during your vocational course enables you to put what you’re learning into practice. The placements are supervised by both the educational institution and the chosen employer, and students are often assigned feedback and guidance during the placement period, which helps to bridge the gap between the learning experience and practical skills, which can direct you into making informed decisions in the future.
An internship is a temporary work opportunity provided by organisations or companies to individuals, typically students or recent graduates, who want to gain practical experience in a particular field or industry. It’s common for students to take internships during the summer or Christmas holidays however, some will do an internship as part of their course while at college or university. Internships are designed to offer you hands-on learning and professional development opportunities that complement your academic studies or career goals. Some internships are paid, but many are not. An internship can last anywhere from a week to a few months and, occasionally, up to a year. You may also want to investigate further opportunities for internships, such as working abroad. There are many different industries you can do an internship including,
You can find further information on internships via the Prospects website.
Work experience days, also known as ‘open days’, are typically one- or two-day events held by organisations to enable you to learn more about a particular industry or job role. Experience days may be more suited to you, if you are wary of committing time to a job or workplace you are unsure of, as they only run for a short period of time. However, unlike work placements, these days are designed to have multiple individuals participate at once, therefore the experience will be less tailored to you, which may hinder your exposure to your chosen industry.
How Do I Get One?
So, you may be thinking, how do I get the placement I want? Well, there are many ways in which you can get the ball rolling to land your ideal work experience.
Do your research- The National Careers Service may help you!
Contact HR Departments to enquire about work experience opportunities
Ask friends and family
Create a creative CV to forward to businesses- https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/cvs-and-cover-letters/creative-cvs#what-is-a-creative-cv
Connect on LinkedIn
Go to company events and open days
Work Experience with Service Care
If you're interested in gaining more work experience, here at Service Care we offer placements in the following departments,
If this sounds like something you'd like to do, get in touch!