Work experience can be a great help if you’re still wondering what sort of career you want to pursue.

A work placement is your opportunity to spend a period of time outside the classroom, learning about a particular job or area of work that interests you.

During your placement, you’ll be able to find out what skills employers look for when they’re hiring someone to fill a job vacancy. You will also get the chance to develop your self-confidence and communication skills as well as learning about how different businesses work and the expectations employers have of their staff. This will help you to work better with other people in further or higher education, as well as in your future career.

With schools, work placements are only available in Years 10 or 11. You won’t be able to do a work placement with your school until you reach this age.

Types of work experience

A work experience placement could involve working in a business or organisation full-time for one to three weeks, or spending one day per week in the workplace over a number of months. A placement may form part of your course if you’re doing a GCSE in a practical subject like engineering or art and design.

How to organise a work placement

Your school will usually organise a work experience placement for you and make sure all the paperwork is filled out correctly. But you will be involved in deciding what sort of area you’d like to spend your placement in, and what you’d like to achieve during your time there.

Think about the subjects that you’re studying and the sort of career you would like to follow in the future. Then see if your school already has links with a company that closely matches your needs. If they don’t, they may be able to set up new links with a company – but this takes time, so make sure you mention it early on when you’re planning your placement.

If you would like support in helping to decide which type of work experience you should choose to help with deciding on a future career you could use the ‘Live Chat’ facility on this website to have an online conversation with an Adviser.


Diary of a work experience placement

23/6/14 So, the first day of work experience. Quite nervous this morning. Changing into my work clothes was quite a wake up call, very different from changing into my usual school uniform. So I ate my toast and packed up my things and off I went to drop my sister off at school with my mom. It was 9:20 when I walked into my work experience department, I was instantly greeted by the lady behind the entrance desk (Forgot name). I asked to see Wendy Lowe, who was my guide and would show me everything about what I needed to do on my first day. Beforehand, I had already met Wendy last week on a Monday to arrange what times I would be staying and what I’m interested in doing when I’m there. By this time, I had met Wendy and she had taken me to the place where I would be working. This is where I was introduced to Corin who would be working next to me during the week. Wendy also explained that Tony was out doing a job and unfortunately couldn’t make it. I was then set on a task to design a Blog and record what I feel about where I am working. So far, I am thoroughly enjoying this task and all the people around me are friendly and enjoyable to be around.

24/06/2014. On the second day of work experience, I arrived at 9:20, signed in and went straight to the place where I’d be working. I was then introduced to Julia, Who would be working with us today. Wendy had gone to Stourbridge to do a Health and Safety procedure so Julia will be showing me how to update a spreadsheet which should keep me occupied for some time. I started to finish off the website design and fixed one of the broken images on the old website and changed it into a new google maps image to see where Dudley EBP is. Later on, i started to update the spreadsheet by updating company profiles on the Dudley EBP database. Wendy gave me the papers to the companies that needed to be updated. I found this really enjoyable and interesting. Later on in the day, I had my lunch and got back to work updating the companies. Finally finished updating the last few companies then I got back to designing the website. The website now has more pages and has been completed from a visual aspect. I still need to add the macros which are quite fiddly and annoying to set up. Nevertheless, i am still enjoying making the blog and designing the website.

25/06/14. Yesterday I was told that I would be shadowing Tony and what he does on a daily basis. So today, I was set to the task of following Tony and seeing what he does and how he carries out his job. I found this really enjoyable as we had to go to different companies and ask them to fill out the Form for the upcoming work experience candidate. My favourite part of the journey was going to Shanghai Motors. The place we arrived at assembled MG cars which was fascinating. Me and Tony went to sign in at the reception, Mg cars were parked near the reception in the showroom. Some of the cars were extra special as they had belonged to famous drivers. Sadly, I didn’t get to sit in or drive one. We also were informed about a new car that hardly anyone knows about which is being introduced and manufactured in China soon.

26/06/14. Today when I arrived at work, I was set to the task of updating another customer/work experience database. I had two spreadsheets to compare and had to update the spreadsheet with the missing information on it, I had to cross reference both spreadsheets and had to transfer the information from the already updated spreadsheet to the spreadsheet that needed the information. I found this interesting at first but it did become a little tedious after manually updating 250 company details. After i had finished updating the company profiles, i was then set to the task of redesigning and cleaning up the old EBP spreadsheet and adding/Deleting things. So far I have created the first sheet and added some tick boxes to see whether they have an approved ELI. I also added conditional formatting to my spreadsheet to when a value is “False” the cell will turn Red and when a cell id is “True” it will turn Green

27/06/2014. The last day of work experience. I got up this morning, had breakfast as usual and watched some TV before dropping off my little sister at school I was then dropped of at work for the last day of work. I arrived at work at 9:20, then signed in and as usual, i went straight to my place of work. Corin and Wendy were soon going to a meeting in which I was allowed to come see what the atmosphere was like and to note down any notes. I found this quite interesting as the meeting consisted of fresh ideas of how Dudley EBP can link with other places of work (like schools) in order to make it more helpful to other schools/companies. I found this quite thought-provoking as it involved a lot of thinking outside of the box and created new and interesting ideas to help the company.