What is Work Experience?
Work experience is a great first step for you to learn about the world of work, gain new skills and support your future learning or career decisions. Placements can vary in length from a couple of days to around two weeks (depending on what is available) and is usually unpaid.
Most work experience is arranged through your school or college, but you can also contact employers directly to see if they offer placements. Well-known businesses, larger charities and public sector organisations often offer work experience, which could either be face-to-face, virtual or both. Friends and family may have useful contacts to help you find a placement, or you could try searching for opportunities using the KentChoices 'Work Experience Finder'.
What are the Benefits of Work Experience?
- You receive an introduction to the work environment and the expectations of employers.
- Increase motivation to continue studying or undertake further training to support your career choice.
- Gain an understanding of recruitment processes (for colleges, universities as well as employment).
- Develop your self-awareness, confidence, maturity and independence.
- Learn practical skills such as communicating with adults, problem solving, time-management and teamwork.
- A successful placement could lead to full or part-time employment opportunities in the future.
- Block Work Experience is usually delivered over a period of one or two weeks. This is usually done in the summer term of year 10 but can vary depending on the school.
- Bespoke Work Experience opportunities are tailored for your specific needs and would need to be negotiated with the employer.
- Extended Work Experience often lasts for one or two days per week over an extended period, during the course of a term or the academic year.
- Virtual Work Experience can be delivered through videos, presentations, online tasks or by attending live sessions on specific dates.
- Work Shadowing offers the opportunity to observe a member of staff for the day to learn about what they do.
- Workplace Tasters and Tours offer young people the opportunity to visit a workplace and try out various day to day tasks.
Although it can be great to have time out of the classroom, work experience must be treated as a learning experience that provides you with an ‘experience of the workplace’. Many placements include a diary where you can record the tasks you have carried out. To make your work experience meaningful and effective, you should reflect on it and consider the following:
- What activities did I enjoy?
- What was I good at?
- What do I need to improve?
- What did I learn about the career/employer?
- Has it helped with my career decision – what more do I need to learn/develop or do to achieve this?
- What have I leant about myself?
- Is this what I really want to do? If not, how do I progress from here?
How to Find Work Experience
Start in Kent and Medway
Looking for career inspiration? The START Profile website is a website where you can find out about lots of different jobs and industries across Kent.https://kent.startprofile.com/page/home-page
National Careers Service
A government website which provides career information, advice and guidance, with skills assessments and support finding employment and training opportunities.https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/
Prospects supports students and graduates with career information, advice and guidance.https://www.prospects.ac.uk/planner
Speakers for Schools
Explore the latest placements on offer and find the right fit for you. Speakers for Schools work with over 700 employers across a wide range of industries to bring you the very best opportunities for virtual work experience as soon as they are listed.https://www.speakersforschools.org/experience-2/work-experience/
Browse a wide range of information and virtual work experience opportunities on the Springpod website.https://www.springpod.com/virtual-work-experience
Education Business Partnership Kent
For a full range of live Kent Work Experience Placements, post-16 internships, vocational opportunities and school access to a free Careers Platform (120 Kent companies). For those students not ready for a live placement or wanting experience of an unavailable or restricted sector the platform also offers Kent Virtual Work Experiences with 60 company challenges. The platform has Work Experience resources and STEM resources for staff.https://docdro.id/dNLOeGD
Life Skills from Barclays
Gain a quick insight into virtual work experience with LifeSkills from Barclays.https://barclayslifeskills.com/i-want-virtual-work-experience/school/
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