5 tips to make the most of school work experience placements

The aim of school work experience placements is to make the workplace less of a mystery for year 10 and 11 pupils. It's a valuable chance to sample the work atmosphere and understand the requirements and expectations of potential employers.

We offer 5 tips to help you seize the opportunities on offer. For further advice check the Government education and learning website at direct.gov.uk.

  1. Think carefully about where you want to do your work experience. Schools will organise them for you and may try to channel you towards offices or businesses that they are used to dealing with. If these are unsuitable for your career choices, say so.
  2. Leave your classroom personality behind. Work experience is a chance to take your place in the adult world, and to impress with your maturity and readiness to learn.
  3. Ask questions. If you are uncertain of anything, don't be afraid of seeming slow, and ask for an exact explanation. Absorbing new information is part of the work experience, and most aspects of the work environment are bound to seem completely alien at first.
  4. Be alert to job opportunities. Ask the employees how they got started, which qualifications were required, and what would be their own tips about finding a job. Insiders will usually have more useful careers information than your school.
  5. Make an impression by writing to the company, thanking them for your school work experience placements. Make a point of writing in some detail about what you have learned, and mention any members of staff who were particularly helpful. They will be inclined to remember you, and that could be a useful advantage in future job applications.


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