Work experience FAQs

Work experience is one of the best opportunities you have to improve your career prospects and gain real world skills. However, organising work experience can be a confusing and time consuming process. Here we have answered some of your frequently asked questions in order to simplify the process and guide you through arranging a placement.

What does work experience involve?

Everyone's time on work experience is different. Many large companies and organisations have work experience programmes, where you will have the chance to work in a number of different departments. Other companies have no set programme, and you may be asked for your input regarding what you would like to do during your time. Some work experience students will get plenty of hands on experience, while others will spend their time making coffee and photocopying. Ask the employer what they can offer before you accept the placement.

How long does a work experience placement last?

If you are a high school student, work experience normally lasts for one or two weeks. University students often take placements for a month or two. Work experience can also take the form of a single day placement over an extended period of time.

How do I arrange work experience?

It's usually just a case of writing to a number of companies that you would be interested in taking a placement with and see who responds. Your school or college may offer some assistance, but ultimately it will be down to you to choose where to go and arrange the details.

Will I be paid for work experience?

No, work experience placements are mostly unpaid (although some internships are paid). You may, however, receive expenses - for example, travel costs and lunch money. Work experience placements should be looked upon as a learning experience for the future rather than an opportunity to earn money.

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