Introduction and benefits
Work Experience is an opportunity for you to experience the world of work, think about your future and find a career that interests you.
We help full-time learners, aged 16-18, to gain valuable work placements. We will empower you to find a suitable placement yourself, or if you are struggling to find a placement, we can contact local employers on your behalf.
There are lots of ways that work placements can help you:
- Better career decision making: You’ll get a taste of what a job or workplace is like, so you can see if you are interested in that kind of career.
- Improved self-confidence: Working with other people and performing tasks well in the workplace will build your confidence.
- It strengthens your CV: Work experience shows that you are enthusiastic and ready to work hard. Future employers, colleges and universities will be interested in any experiences that help you to stand out.
- Gain new skills: Getting to work on time, working alongside other people and understanding employer expectations will add to your knowledge and understanding of the workplace.
- Connect with employers: You’ll meet people at work and you might attend meetings or events. Some of these contacts may provide you with a reference or help you in the future.
- A placement needs to provide sufficient time for you to gain some meaningful experience, but not so long that employers will struggle to cover this. Ideally, a placement should be for a minimum of 30 hours – requiring around 1 day per week over 5 or more weeks – preferably on a day when you are not studying in College.
- Try a few employers to gain a placement, as not every company will be in the position to offer you a placement so you may need to persevere.
- If you are struggling to find a placement, ask your tutor to liaise with the Work Experience Team so that they can consider alternative options for you.
Once you have a placement, you’ll need to let your main course tutor know so that they can check that the company has the appropriate insurance and meets all Health & Safety requirements.
Throughout the placement you’ll complete a ‘Work Experience Learner Record’ and gain employer feedback – this will look great on your CV.
What will I be doing on a placement?
Before the placement, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the location, dress code and working hours of your placement and make suitable travel arrangements so you arrive on time.
You will need to have realistic expectations of the likely duties you may be given, as you are only on placement for a short period of time and it takes time to acquire new skills. Most placements contain real, interesting work mixed with development tasks that introduce you to different parts of the company. You can also learn a lot by observing employees doing different tasks.
The duties you are able to carry out will vary; depending on the area of work you have chosen and how quickly you can develop the level of competence the employer is looking for. You will usually be expected to work ‘normal working hours’ for the business you are attending.
If you’re interested in a work placement, you must already be studying on a full-time pathway in College. Please speak to your main course tutor or visit our Work Experience Team in room A3.20 in the Deane Road Campus, and ask for Andrew or Matthew.
If you would like help writing your first CV for work experience, simply click on the link to our blog here for more information.