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Work Experience

Work experience is often favoured by employers and can help you decide what career you want to have. Work experience can last anything from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the work experience programme that you apply for.

Work Experience

If you’re struggling to get on the job ladder and you think the main thing holding you back is your lack of professional experience in the workplace, work experience could be perfect for you. It is essential for getting a job, in most cases! Whether you have great qualifications or not, it is a wonderful thing to support your application. Work experience involves:

  • Work preparation training - gives you the skills and confidence needed the first step in your career. Some work experience placements will help you write a CV, cover letters, application forms and prepare for interviews.
  • Skills you need to find a job - employers are at the centre of work experience, so they focus on your skills and future success in employment
  • Professional experience - You’ll be working alongside employees at the company
  • An improved CV - work experience gives you great practical experience and a reference

Work experience is often favoured by employers and can help you decide what career you want to have, or not want to have! It will involve you going into a business from anything from a few weeks to a few months and really get to learn the ropes of the job that you might want to have. You could be involved in work shadowing where you shadow someone in a more senior role too!

During a work experience placement, you’ll have a manager or supervisor and most of the time, get a mentor too. You’ll have the opportunity to network with colleagues and other people currently working and get experience in many different areas. At the end of your placement, you’ll also get a reference that you could take to future employers when you’re looking for paid work. If you’ve got work experience, you want to make the most of it. When you arrive, talk to your supervisor about what you want to get out of it, your ambitions and what you want to get out of the experience. Ask as many questions as you can, you’ll be working with experienced people so get advice! Keep note of any work that you do to build your CV, ask for feedback and say thank-you!

What are they like?

You'll be working like any other employee doing the exact same jobs with the same duties and responsibilities, you will just have more support from other people on the team. Whether you’re on the workshop floor, working on reception, or in the office you will be supporting the team with their projects.  You could spend part of your week work shadowing someone in the business – in a role you could see yourself in!

Can I do work experience?

Anybody can do work experience. It doesn’t have to be a programme, but we recommend that you look for an experience ran alongside a training provider or overseen by an organisation such as Movement to Work. For work placements by Movement to Work, you need to be 18-30 years old, currently unemployed and registered with Job Centre Plus.

Why should I do a placement?

There are many reasons why you should do a placement, here are just a few:

  • Clarify your career goals
  • Give you an insight into the way organisations operate and the challenges they face
  • Increase your skills and knowledge
  • Provide you with networking opportunities
  • Help you to understand a particular job or industry.

What kind of work experience can I do?

You can do work experience in almost any job you can think of! There are no limits on opportunities, but some jobs are just slightly more restricted than others. An organisation might process confidential information, require specialist training or work with children which may cause problems or require you to get a DBS check. If it’s a longer placement this shouldn’t be a problem as there will be process it place!

How long is work experience?

Work experience can last anything from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the employer and the work experience programme that you apply for.

Does it cost me money to do work experience?

Work experience is a free opportunity, employers offer you the experience to help you get on the career ladder, you don't have to pay for this.

Can I apply for lots of work experience placements?

You can apply for as many work experience placements as you like however you can only do one opportunity at a time. Applying for lots of opportunities will give you more to choose from!

What does an employer look for in my application?

An employer will be looking for your passion in the industry and the reason why you want the job. If you have ambitions to have a career in marketing and your applying for a marketing work placement that will put you ahead of the curve!

What support do I get?

When you do work experience, you will have a supervisor or manager at the employer you are working at. Some work experience programmes also give you a mentor to support you finding a job and with other aspects your need help with.

Do I get paid?

Some work placements will pay you for your work, however most often you won’t get paid. Many employers will offer you subsidised travel or lunches or let you put it on expenses.

How does this help in the future?

As well as all of the experience you will gain from the placement, you will also get more practical help.  You will get a supervisor or may even get a mentor, who might be able to act as a referee for you in future job applications!v

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