Get the most out of those school work experience weeks

A school work experience placement helps prepare pupils for the experience of the workplace, and can be a very valuable learning experience. It's important to seize the opportunity to impress and to pick up valuable experience.

The Government education and learning website at direct.gov.uk tells you more about work experience in years 10 and 11 at secondary school. These placements offer an escape from the classroom, and a chance to learn more about potential jobs or career paths.

Placements involve working in a business or an organisation or office full-time for one to three weeks, or alternatively spending one day per week in the workplace over the course of several months.

Schools usually organise the placements for you using their existing contacts with local companies. You have some input in choosing which areas of work and which organisations interest you from a career perspective. If you want to try something out of the ordinary, mention it to the school at an early stage, so there is time to set it up for you.

For courses in practical subjects like engineering, art and design, placements at a relevant organisation are a key part of the course. For the Diploma qualification that is available in certain schools and colleges, work experience is an integral part of the course.

It's important to use the work experience to learn about the skills and qualifications that employers value, as well as picking up some tips on making effective job applications.

Although workplaces can initially be intimidating environments, school work experience is an opportunity to improve your communication skills and learn about fitting into a team environment.


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