A work experience placement is when you work for a company voluntarily for a short period of time to learn more about the workplace, industry and job roles. You will be treated as a normal member of staff with the same expectations in place (for example, making sure you are on time!). You will be set tasks throughout your placement that help you to understand different job roles within the industry.
The purpose of a work experience placement is for a young person, or an adult looking to change careers, to consider whether or not the industry is the right for them. Placements usually last 1 or 2 weeks but the length of time will vary depending on the company.
Taking part in a work experience placement will help you to decide if a particular industry, career and/or job role is right for you. You may decide it is and that’s great, then you have a focus for your career development planning. You may decide it’s not right for you, which is also really helpful. Imagine if you hadn’t taken part in work experience and ended up in the wrong industry!
As well as learning about the workplace, work experience placements help you to gain lots of skills including communication, self management, teamwork and leadership. These are helpful for your own development but are also a great way to demonstrate your skills on things like your CV, job/apprenticeship applications and personal statements for university.
Some schools will offer you the chance to take part in work experience as part of your school’s career programme, speak to your careers lead to see if this is something they will be arranging for you.
Alternatively, you can be proactive and find your own work experience placement. Contact local businesses to see if they would be happy to host a placement for you to learn more about their business and industry.