Help your child make the most of work experience

3 minutes

The benefits of work experience

Work experience can help your child stand out from the crowd when they are applying for a college, university or their first job.

A work placement gives your child a chance to: 

  • gain an insight into the world of work
  • use skills required in the workplace such as teamworking and good timekeeping
  • develop self-awareness and confidence
  • understand the links between their school subjects and the world of work
  • meet new people who could help them in the future

Your child’s teachers will help them arrange a placement, but you can also help. Find out how with our 3 tips. 

1. Help your child understand the world of work

Start by encouraging your child to think about what kind of placement they’d like to do. 

Our Careers Adviser Alison Phillips says: 'it can help if you have an up-to-date picture of what's happening in the world of work.'

We've got lots of resources and guidance for your child whether they're just thinking about their future or about to leave school. You can spend some time with them looking through what My World of Work has to offer them.

2. Use your contacts

Think about who you know and where they work. Is there anyone who could help?

‘Colleagues, family and friends can be an excellent source of work experience placements,’ says Alison. ‘These links could open up buddying or job shadowing opportunities.’

Janie Campbell, 44, from Glasgow, helped her 16-year-old daughter Kiera get a week’s work placement.

She says, ‘I work in a GP practice. I contacted one of my patients who is a manager of a nursery. I asked if they would consider Kiera for work experience.

‘But I wanted her to go through the same interview process as everyone else as I thought that she would benefit from the experience. I wanted the manager to be very honest if she wasn’t suitable.'  

3. Support them during their placement

Ask your child how their placement is going and encourage them to try harder with tasks they enjoy. Suggest that they make time to chat with people who are working in the type of job they've enjoyed shadowing.

Make sure to encourage your child, even if they're not keen on the work placement they're doing.

Alison says, ‘Your child can struggle if they’re not passionate about an opportunity. However, even if a work experience placement is not the exact job a young person wants, it is valuable and parents can encourage young people to see the benefits.’

‘For example, a placement can develop transferable and employability skills and build contacts and references for future applications.’

Experience the world of work

Our work experience page is filled with advice and resources to help your child get work experience and how to make the most out of it.