In many local schools, students go out on work experience during years 10 or 11 for a one or two week “block” and this is the programme that most people still think of when work experience is mentioned. Work experience helps you:
- Learn about the world of work; understand how companies are organised and how life at work differs from that at school/college
- See how things you have learned in the classroom are applied in practice
- Understand how your skills and knowledge can be put to use in the workplace
- Begin to find out what starting work might feel like and to prepare for the move between education and employment
- Have a chance to work with people of all ages
Some year 10/11 students have extra work experience, possibly because they are taking a particular course at school or college, such as hospitality or sport, where actual hands-on work experience is required. For others, parents and school might feel that extra work experience will particularly help in getting a job after school or college and these placements, often called “targeted work experience” are usually one or two days per week for a couple of terms.
In years 12 and 13, students often do work experience as part of a vocational post-16 qualification, or to meet the requirements of entry on to a college or university course and this can be undertaken in both “blocks” or a day or two a week and gives you a chance to get a real idea about the sort of work you might be planning to do.
Many people get part-time jobs, although sometimes the work you did while on placement is restricted to someone under sixteen or eighteen. The type of jobs offered most often are in retail or catering, but whether or not your part-time job is linked to the sort of work you want to do full-time, you can still get really useful experience. Team work, planning, getting on with people of all ages, dealing with difficult customers... all these are skills which you can build up in a part-time job.
Most schools have a work experience co-ordinator who is responsible for helping students find placements, and this is the person to contact in the first instance if you have a query. However, if your school or college doesn’t run a work experience programme or if you are home educated and therefore don’t attend school, then The Employability Partnership may be able to help. This organisation manages work experience programmes for students across Cambridgeshire - Visit the Employability Partnership website