Welcome to our work experience page
Work experience is a valuable way for you to learn about the career industry you’re interested in, get some hands-on experience in a place of work, and for you to have experiences to help you fill out your future applications. For some industries - education, for example- it’s actually an expected part of your application. We’ve put together a guide to help you find, prepare for, and complete work experience.
Finding work experience
Thinking of ideas for work experience can be a challenge, and if you don’t live in an urban area, it can feel like there are very limited options. Rather than trying to find the ‘perfect’ opportunity, look for a placement that ticks as many boxes as possible.
Instead of focusing on one specific job role, consider the wider career industry. For example, it may not be possible to shadow an anaesthetist, but you could explore other roles in the healthcare industry like working in a dental practice, nursing home, or GP clinic. These will all give you relevant experience that you can still learn from and reflect on in your applications.
You could also think about the transferable skills that are relevant across industries to help you find a placement. For example, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find work experience as an air steward, but you could reach out to customer services departments as the staff will use very similar skills in their day to day jobs.
Or you can think about experiences that are relevant to the school subject that is most related to the job or industry you’d like to go into.
- History and Classics: museums, archive offices, National Trust sites, and archaeological digs
- Art and Design: galleries, workshops, branding departments, and architectural firms
- Drama and Performing Arts: talent agencies, local theatres, local events spaces, and drama departments in schools
- English and Modern Languages: foreign language classes, translating companies, local newspapers and radio stations, broadcasting companies, libraries, publishing houses, advertising agencies, blogs, and local councils
- Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, and Engineering: water works, research and development departments at a local factory, energy/oil/gas companies, local pharmacies, local airports or aerodromes, local astronomy observation centres, automobile and aviation manufacturers, and science museums
- Medical Sciences and Human Biology: pharmaceutical companies, dental practices, nursing homes, local hospitals, GP or walk in clinics, opticians, chiropractors, and podiatrists
- Computer Sciences: app development companies, IT security companies, programming companies, tech start-ups, and school IT departments
- Maths: finance departments, accounting firms, insurance firms, tax firms, HR departments, and banks
- All subjects: primary schools, local blogs and magazines, local societies or study groups, supermarkets, department stores, libraries, and local councils
Finding contacts and how to contact them
When organising work experience, try to be realistic. You are unlikely to be allowed access into the head office of a national organisation with no prior experience. Look for local businesses or people with whom you already have a connection - like the parent/carer of a fellow pupil, a family member, a friend, etc.
If you don’t have any contacts, or aren’t sure where to start, speak to your careers officer or adviser at school; they may be able to suggest organisations where pupils from your school have previously worked and made such a good impression that they’re keen to have another student.
Once you’ve decided where you want to work and have a contact, you actually need to contact them. Don’t rely on a parent or your school to contact them for you! You need to show that you can be confident and professional, even if you are nervous!
Finding work experience in the NHS
Work experience in the NHS is a fantastic way to gain insight into a particular career. It can also be a valuable way of getting some confidence and experience of working in a team and caring for people. Whether it is a short or long-term placement, full or part time, or on a structured or informal basis, work experience can help you choose the right career. Step Into The NHS :: Work experience