A great way to get a taste of the world of work is through work experience. Your child may be given the opportunity to do some work experience during year 10 or 11 through their school.
The work experience should be related to a job or career that your child is interested in.
Please note: not all schools offer this opportunity as work experience is now included in post-16 learning.
Why do work experience?
It's a good chance to:
- Pick up new skills, experiences and understanding of the workplace.
- Learn how to work in a team alongside people who have chosen to work in a specific area.
- Build self-confidence and communication skills.
- Find out what they enjoy or don’t enjoy about particular jobs or careers.
- Find out what people who are already doing the job say about it.
Tips for organising work experience
If it's not organised by your child's school you can organise work experience for them yourself:
- Many schools have a list of approved companies who have offered placements in the past.
- Your son or daughter can write direct to employers involved in the work that interests them.
- You can use your own family or contacts to find a suitable placement.
- You need to plan well ahead to avoid any last minute rush for placements.
- Make sure they’ve got a couple of ideas in case their first choice isn’t available.
Remember: if you arrange the placement yourself, you must check that all the health and safety requirements are in place before your son or daughter can start. Schools should give the support and advice you need to check this.
Making the most of work experience
Encourage you son or daughter to do some early research so that they have some ideas of the type of work experience they’d like to apply for.
During the placement your son or daughter will have a log or journal to fill in. Encourage them to take the time to record their experiences. They’ll have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on these with their careers tutor, or teacher on their return to school.
Whether their work experience was related to their career path or not, finding out what they like and what they don’t like are both very valuable experiences.
Video: Whether you need something
Video: How to find work experience or internships