What is work experience?
It can be hard to imagine what a job is really like. If you decide to become an engineer, will you be fixing things all day? Does a GP have to know about every illness? And how do you make money as an artist?
The best way to understand the industry you’re interested in is to experience what it’s like to work in it. That includes being in the workplace, speaking to the employees and getting involved in tasks while you’re there.
That’s what work experience is – and it’s something you can do to gain skills, boost your CV, and decide which career is right for you.
In this article you'll find:
How do I get work experience?
When you’re in 4th year, your teachers will help you arrange your work experience.
Some schools run work experience schemes for older pupils too, helping you get ready for college or uni, or taking on an apprenticeship or job straight from school.
But you don’t have to leave it to your teachers.
You can volunteer at a charity, speak to local businesses you’re interested in, or simply get in touch with companies yourself.
Make work experience work for you
There’s loads that work experience can help you with – mainly deciding what kind of career you want.
And everything you learn while you’re there can help you get started on that journey after school.
Even if you decide that the career isn’t right for you, work experience lets you explore new tasks, learn new skills, meet new people and find out things you’re good at that you never even knew.
That can give you a real confidence boost.
Make the most of your work experience
Get ready to grab the opportunity with both hands:
- Ask questions! Talk to people in the role, ask them how they got to be where they are, find out more about the company and get advice on applying for a similar role yourself.
- Add it to your CV. Keep a note of the work you do, the skills you learned and the strengths you used. And don’t forget to ask for a reference when you leave.
- Say thanks. Explain what you learned during your time there and thank them for the opportunity – you never know the role they might play in your future career.