Virtual Work Experience

What is virtual work experience?

Similar to a traditional work experience opportunity, the purpose of a virtual placement is to allow you to learn more about a particular job role, business or industry. We have seen a large increase in the number of virtual placements available due to COVID-19 and businesses recognising that young people still needed the opportunity to access businesses and learn about the workplace.

How should I prepare?

Firstly, make sure you have the technology mentioned above at home ready to access the programme. Test your microphone and camera capabilities before the first day of your placement. Make sure you have a notepad and pen throughout the week so you can make notes and ensure you get the most out of your workplace experience. You can also write questions down throughout the week, there will be opportunities to ask these to relevant people.

You will be given a contact at the employer so if you have any problems, the best thing to do is get in touch with them.

What is the difference between traditional work experience and virtual work experience?

The key difference between virtual and traditional work experience is that virtual placements are all completed online. There are both pros and cons to this way of participating in a placement.

Let’s start with the positives! You are able to take part in virtual placements with companies that are not in your geographical area, giving you a fair wider list of potential opportunities. You also do not have to worry about funding your transport to the place of work, because you can take part in the full programme of activities from home. Lastly, the large majority of virtual placements take place during the school holidays, meaning you do not miss any lessons.

The cons that you may want to consider are that you would be responsible for ensuring you can access the programme from home so would require wifi, a device to access the programme and a quiet space to be able to take part. In addition to this, you may not feel that you get the full experience of actually being in the workplace. However, with COVID-19 restricting access to traditional placements, a virtual placement is certainly far better than no placement at all.

Where can I find virtual work experience opportunities?

We have compiled a list of all the places where you can find virtual work experience opportunities:

Future First

Future First is the UK education charity helping state schools broaden their students’ horizons by connecting them with former student role models. Our purpose is to see every state school and college supported by a thriving and engaged alumni community, so students gain the confidence, motivation, and inspiration they need to live successful lives. Currently working young people in over 400 schools and colleges and with a network of over 266,000, our vision is a world where a young person’s start in life does not limit their future.

Future First volunteers come to us through their old school alumni networks or by joining our National Alumni Network, all our volunteers are committed to giving back to schools across the UK and are keen to share their skills, experiences and advice with young people. There are many ways for people to give back to their old school or college, from simply submitting a photo for an inspirational poster, taking part in a case study or giving up one morning or afternoon to attend a workshop.

Visit Future First

Future First offers students a virtual work experience week to give an insight into working at a charity like Future First. On each day, students ‘meet’ a team member and complete a task. Activities will help students build on the skills and experience they’d need for many careers, not just the charity sector. To sign up, please click here.

Sign up

Speakers for schools

Speakers for Schools was founded in 2010 by ITV’s Political Editor Robert Peston, and supported by the Law Family Charitable Foundation with a mission to help level the playing field for young people of all backgrounds. The charity’s aim is to end educational inequality by giving all young people access to the same prestigious networks available to the top fee-paying schools in the UK. It provides talks from influential figures as well as work experiences linking state school students to hundreds of the UK’s leading employers. Since the advent of Covid-19 it has focused on delivering virtual work experience and online talks to schools.

Via the Experience Programme, our mission is to give all young people access to the top UK brands. By connecting our national network of schools with industry leading employers, we open young people’s eyes to the possibilities ahead of them and an insight into the world of work. Our programme is run through a simple, safe-guarded portal, giving students access to opportunities, schools an easy way to manage their work experience and employers the chance to diversify their early talent pipelines and meet their social mobility goals. Students who take part in the Experience programme have access to work experience and insight days with some of the top employers in the UK where they learn about pathways into careers at these companies and skills required by those industries. You can hear more about their placements and why you should take part in our video case studies here.

Learn more