Work Experience: A guide for school leavers
Have you just left school? Are you thinking what, where, when, who, how … PANIC!!! Well don’t; we’re here to help you through this confusing stage of your life.
Whether you’ve left school with excellent qualifications or haven’t done as well as you hoped, work experience can make all the difference to your chances of finding a career that’s right for you. Luckily for you, there are lots of different ways to gain work experience.
We’ve put together a short guide to help you to understand the different types of work experience available to you. Read on for more information:
When should I start thinking about work experience?
There is no right or wrong time. Don’t panic if you’ve already left school and don’t have a work experience placement to go to, there’s plenty of time to find one and with Careermap here to help it’ll take no time at all. TALK! Talk to everyone, your teachers, parents, peers, Careermap. They will all be able to support and advise you to help you make the right choice for you.
What work experience options are there?
There are lots of different routes for securing work experience, whether you’ve left school and are no longer in education or if you’re still at school there are opportunities for everyone.
1. Work experience organised by your school
If you’re still at school it’s definitely worth exploring what support you can access. Some schools have links with employers and can put you in touch with employers in the career you want to succeed with.
2. Work experience placements advertised by employers
Some employers offer traineeships and work experience programmes that you can apply for and get involved with. For example, BDO offers traineeships or Tesco’s. It’s best to check the eligibility criteria. Some employers might aim their programmes at people who aren’t in education whereas others may be aimed at people who are still in education.
3. Work experience abroad
Work experience abroad, better known as a gap year, will expose you to different languages and multicultural environments. It shows you’re not one to hide from the crowd.
4. Approaching local businesses/voluntary work
Approaching local businesses and asking if they’d be willing to take you on for a week so you can gain invaluable experience in your chosen discipline. This could be any business from plumbing to childcare and much more. You could also do voluntary work at charities.
5. The Prince’s Trust
The Prince’s Trust is a charity organisation that works with businesses to transform young people prospects. They offer programmes that will fill you with all the experience, knowledge and training required to secure you your first job.
6. Applying for Apprenticeships
With a significant expansion of options for school leavers, if you don’t think college or university are right for you, why not start an Apprenticeship? This offers you the chance continue your education while gaining valuable experience and skills with on the job training and you’ll even earn a salary. They allow you to ‘earn and learn’ to avoid the debt associated with university.
Work experience is a serious CV booster, when going to job interviews in the future you’ll be able to give relevant examples or your key skills and employers love that! Work experience can also boost your confidence when beginning a new job and attending interviews, it really is a win-win situation.
Sign up for National Work Experience Week
You can learn about how work experience can help you to develop the skills and confidence you need, plus practical tips on building a CV. You can also explore work experience opportunities with our partners.