Whether you are still at school or college, the opportunity to gain some work experience is a useful investment for your future.
Anyone! If you are still at school, you will probably be offered work experience in year 10 or 11. It usually lasts around two weeks during term time. Schools organise work experience in different ways. Your school might have a list of local placements with organisations and companies which take work experience students on a regular basis. These placements tend to be offered on first-come, first-served basis. If you know what you want to do, get your name down early to be sure of getting the placement you really want.
Alternatively, schools may give you the option of finding your own placement. In this case, talk to your careers advisor to establish the type of work you are interested in and discuss possible placements. You can also contact companies to arrange the work experience yourself for the set time period. Take the initiative to arrange some additional work experience for - a week, or even a day, during the holidays.
If you know what you want to do it will give you a 'foot in the door', it shows motivation and a real interest in your chosen career. If you are not sure what you want to do after education it is a great way to get a taste for different jobs. Even holiday jobs can count towards work experience. Think about what you are learning and what skills you are developing - you will find it makes it much easier when it comes to writing your CV.
There is a lot of competition for some placements, so put your name down early for your preferred placements if arranged via school. If you are organising the placement; start looking as soon as you know the dates to give yourself the best chance of working where you want to be. Your approach to finding a placement:
Once your placement is organised, find out as much as you can about the place where you will do your work experience. This includes practical things like finding out how to get to your work placement, whether you need to wear anything special for the work and your timetable for the weeks you will be working.
It is important that you get used to the idea of the working day: starting on time, taking breaks at the appropriate time and maybe being asked, or expected, to do things you do not particularly want to do. Even if you do not like tasks, you can console yourself with the thought that it is not permanent. As you are only there for a limited amount of time, it is better to show you are willing and have a positive attitude - the more you put in, the more you will get out. The company may be prepared to give you a reference for a job if you have worked well.
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