Why Work Experience Is Important
4 months ago

Hi I am Rylie Sweeney, an Apprentice Site Manager at Willmott Dixon and an ambassador for Not Going to Uni. I am going to share with you the importance of work experience and the impact it had on my journey.

Starting off with my journey and how work experience was crucial moment to becoming an apprentice at 16. From an early age, I struggled in mainstream education. But during my time at a technical college in year 10 and 11, I participated in 13 diverse work experience programs. Each program exposed me to new roles and provided invaluable insights into various industries. Through hands-on learning and immersive work experience I developed crucial skills and fuelled my enthusiasm, I recognised the impact of work experience on my education and knew that apprenticeships would be invaluable for my learning.

I took part in work experience with Willmott Dixon where I got to experience a range of roles within the business. It was the peak of COVID, so it was all virtual, but it was still a great experience. I got to meet employees, apprentices, and get to see what it would be like working for them.

A couple months later on my 16th birthday I travelled to Manchester for my assessment centre with Willmott Dixon. The day was packed full of different activities all challenging in different ways. It was a great experience but when leaving I wasn’t sure I had a chance. I spent the day surrounded by people with degrees, people with years of experience, people years old than me. A couple of months later I got a phone call to say I secured my dream apprenticeship. So, if you’re currently applying, have confidence in yourself as it goes to show its not all about the qualifications.

Now, in my second year of my apprenticeship, I continue to learn and grow every day. Apprenticeships provide a practical alternative to traditional education, offering hands-on learning and a direct route into a chosen industry. Joining Willmott Dixon as an apprentice has provided invaluable support, continued development, and a strong professional network. Working closely with the site team has not only accelerated my learning, but broadened my industry understanding.

As a current apprentice, I cannot stress enough about the importance of work experience in shaping young people's development ahead of embarking on their professional journeys. Having taking part in 13 work experience programs, I have witnessed the invaluable insights and skills acquired through these opportunities. From developing technical abilities to fostering essential soft skills, each placement was instrumental in preparing me for the dynamic world of work.

Work experience serves as a bridge between academic learning and practical application, offering a glimpse into the real-world of work across various industries. For young people, finding what your best next steps are can be a daunting task, but work experience provides a hands-on experience that can help make decisions clearer. Through exposure to different roles and environments, young people can gain clarity about their interests, strengths, and aspirations, empowering them to make more informed decisions about their future.

The skills development is key for young people, enabling them to refine their abilities and adaot to professional expectations. In my journey through thirteen placements, I had the opportunity to develop a diverse range of competencies, from communication and teamwork, to problem-solving and time management. These skills are not only crucial for excelling in the workplace but as serve as building blocks for personal growth and self-confidence.

One of the most significant benefits of work experience is its role in building professional networks and fostering mentorship opportunities. By engaging with industry professionals, apprentices like me gain access to invaluable guidance and advice, which can significantly influence career choices. Through meaningful interactions with mentors, I've received personalised insights into my chosen field, unlocking doors to opportunities and expanding my professional horizon.

Work experience instils a sense of responsibility and work ethic which is essential for success in any career path. By taking part in the daily operations of a workplace, young people develop an understanding of professional standards and expectations. Through my placements I learnt the importance of accountability, reliability and perseverance qualities that are highly valued by employers across industries.

Work experience enhances employability by proving young people with tangible evidence of their capabilities and potential. In a competitive job market, practical experience can set candidates apart, demonstrating their readiness to contribute from day one. By showcasing the skills and insights gained through work experience, young people can position themselves as valuable assets to prospective employers, increasing their chances of securing apprenticeships or meaningful employment opportunities.

In conclusion, work experience stands as a cornerstone of career exploration and development for young individuals seeking to carve out their paths in professional world. Through my journey as an apprentice, I've come to appreciate the profound impact of these placements in shaping my skills, confidence and aspirations. By engaging with diverse industries, cultivating essential competencies, and building professional networks, work experience has empowered me to make informed decisions about my future and embark on a fulfilling career journey.

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