Discover Your Potential

Hints and Tips

Work experience is time spent in a workplace learning about a job role, a company or a career sector, with most experiences being unpaid, though there are some types of opportunities where money can be earned.

Benefits of work experience can include:

  • Boosting confidence
  • Developing new skills or improving existing ones
  • Finding out what’s involved in a job
  • Trying out new career ideas
  • Displaying talent to employers
  • Growing a network of contacts
  • Identifying any reasonable adjustments required, due to a disability or long-term health condition

There is a wide variety of work experience available and can include the following:


Observing someone doing a job for a few days, provides an idea of what may be involved, rather than hands-on experience.


School or College work experience placement

Usually 1- or 2-weeks duration, staff may organise placements or individuals might have to arrange.


Work-related courses


Courses like T-Levels, BTECs and some degrees include work experience as part of the course and vary in length. A placement officer/ tutor may assist in securing experience during the programme.


Year placements


A paid year in the workplace as part of a higher education course. Students apply in the same way as for graduate jobs and University careers services can help source opportunities relevant to a students’ course.


Gap year and year abroad experience:

Organised by commercial organisations & charities or something students can arrange themselves.



Paid periods of work experience lasting around 2 to 3 months in the summer. Mostly aimed at undergraduates and newly qualified graduates. Information is usually available from associated university careers services.


Insight events:

Usually organised by companies or careers organisations -you spend a day or a few days finding out about a specific sector such as Law or IT. May include networking, career presentations and hands-on activities.


Additional ways to get work experience

There are other useful ways of gaining work experience, like:

  • Volunteering:
  • part-time jobs
  • going to company events, real and virtual open days
  • helping friends or family with a business
  • setting up your own small business
  • entering competitions and skill challenges like ‘World Skills’:

Increasingly, companies are developing ‘virtual’ placements, where candidates can work ‘remotely’ using digital technology. Significantly, these experiences are not just for young people, but also beneficial for ‘career changers’ and those looking to return to work.

Virtual work experience is available via websites like Barclays Life skills:  which can help to develop skills to deal with situations in the workplace, without having to go out on a placement


Speakers For Schools  

aim to give young people access to the top, by connecting their national network of schools with industry leading employers, opening young people’s eyes to the possibilities ahead of them.

Their programme is run through a simple, safe-guarded portal, giving students access to opportunities, schools an easy way to manage their work experience and employers the chance to diversify their early talent pipelines and meet their social mobility goals.

So, whether you’re a Student, a Parent an Educator or Employer, we shouldn’t underestimate the positive impact that ‘work experience’ can have in fuelling aspirations for all.

There are many ways to sample different careers to see whether they’re appealing and provide us with the opportunity to show employers what we’re capable of.

For further help or information regarding the work experience contact us via email: