Work experience. When you're in year 10, it's all you ever hear about; from November to July all you're doing is emailing employer after employer and filling out pages of forms. Listening to assemblies and lectures from teachers, bored out of your mind thinking 'why would I want to go and work for free for a whole week?'. Especially if you already have a job. So, work experience sounds dull and pointless. But, at the end of the day, it's actually very useful for you and your future, and is not an opportunity that should be wasted, here's why:
If you enjoy your work experience and decide that you want to work in that industry, you're in luck, because you've already had a whole week of experience. Any employer would be happy to see that you've already begun developing skills in the workplace - especially when it's in their industry.
If you didn't enjoy your week of work experience, believe it or not, that's good. Well, maybe not for you during your placement, but it'll help you determine what you do and don't want to do in the future. You may have been looking at the wrong industry for you without even realizing!
You might have also based your GCSE options on the job you thought you wanted to do, but it's okay, there are thousands of teenagers around the country in the same situation. As long as you picked subjects you enjoy, you can find a way to make them into a future career, or, you could just direct your search towards a different career path completely – it's up to you!
You might have never written a professional email to an employer before, or worked closely in the industry you've decided to go into, and that's where work experience comes in. Teachers can help you write emails, prepare a CV, find an employer, but when the actual week comes, it's up to you. Being stuck in an old classroom copying notes is completely different to being hands-on in a working environment, and you'll find you learn just as much – if not more!
You may not be a typically confident person, and you may potentially let that prevent you from engaging in work experience; but don't just go with your friend to whatever they're doing. This may not be the best week of your life, and it probably won't be easy, but after the first few days you'll notice yourself opening up and engaging in something you love or find interesting.
If you're in a placement with your friend in something they picked, you might even find it harder to mesh with your workplace and let loose as you're in an unfamiliar place, working in an industry you know nothing about. You may even distract your friend in an opportunity that may be important to their career path, ruining their experience.
So, there you go, four of the many reasons why work experience is important. After all, it may feel like a chore at first set by your teachers – but at the end of the day, really the only person benefiting from your work experience is you, and it will be what you make of it.
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