The purpose of work experience

The purpose of work experience is to introduce pupils to gain knowledge of the world of work, whilst developing self awareness and skills that are valuable to employers. You will develop many skills, including communication, problem solving, teamwork, business awareness and an understanding of the use of technology.  You may learn data systems whilst you learn self management skills.  

Work experience enables you to think ahead for possible future career options, be in a different environment. Your work placement should be meaningful and have a purpose.  The work experience placement should enable you to carry out a variety of tasks, as it enables you to  understand responsibility and most importantly help you to learn about expectations of the workplace, become better observers, enquirers, thinkers and become more reflective.

Below is a better understanding of what you can gain from attending work experience:

  • Look’s great on your CV.
  • Enables you to gain knowledge of how an organisation operates and functions.
  • Enables you to make decisions about your future career aspirations.
  • You understand the importance of time management.
  • You will gain communication skills.
  • Can improve your networking skills.
  • You will find out if the job is how you imagined it.
  • Work Experience can help you set some career goals .
  • You may find out how certain jobs relate to subjects that you learn whilst in sixth form.
  • You will have examples to talk about when you attend potential future interviews.
  • When experience placement’s work out well, you could potentially gain a reference for future roles you apply for.

Things you may want to consider?

  • Don’t worry if you are not sure about what your chosen career aspiration is.
  • Before you start to consider what kind of work experience you would like, consider which subjects you enjoy most.
  • Consider your strengths.
  • You may want to consider which subjects you struggle with.
  • Think about what your hobbies and interests are outside of school.
  • Think about what jobs other people you know are doing?
  •  Could you see yourself in that line of work?
  • Take into consideration whether you enjoy teamwork or like to work on your own.
  • Think about whether you prefer an office environment or like a variety.

Finding the right work placement?

  • You need to think about where you would like to work.
  • Although your Academy may help you find a placement, and want you to gain experience in an industry that interests you most, it is your responsibility to find a placement.
  • You may prefer to find your own work placement through a family member, or family friends.
  • Be prepared to do some research about the organisations that interest you most.
  • You need to enquire by preparing an email, contacting the organisation by phone or by drafting a letter.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Click here to help you find the right resources 
  • Consider the location of your placement, as you may find it difficult to access public transport, or find it difficult to get there.
  • Find out if the company of interest offers work experience.  You can do this by searching the company name followed by the words, “work experience”.
  • Many large organisations such as Barclays work in partnership with other organisations and offer their own work experience programme.
  • Certain sectors such as retail, hospitality, catering and banks offer their own work experience programmes.
  • You may want to consider approaching public sector businesses, local charities and local private limited companies to find out about work experience opportunities.

What are employers looking for

  • You do not need previous industry experience, as employers will take your age into consideration.
  • Employers will be interested in you if you show your enthusiasm and would expect to see general skills and qualities.
  • Your ability to get on with people and communicate well with others.
  • Employers like to see you show your initiative.
  • Show your enthusiasm (e.g. willingness and ability to learn new skills).
  • Show your loyalty, (e.g turning up on time and being interested in working there in the future after the work experience period has finished).
  • And a positive attitude and keenness to learn are highly recognised in the world of work.

Guide for pupils, parents and carers

Information and Support for pupils arranging their own 

Work Experience Placements 

An excellent way for you to develop your understanding and knowledge of the world of work is by attending a work experience placement. This may be organised via your academy during term time or you may be encouraged to arrange a placement independently outside of school hours.

At Leigh Academies Trust, depending on the academy you attend, your Work Experience could be arranged in a number of ways including those shown below.  

  • Arranging own placement 
  • Being provided with a list of possible work placements to choose from 

The time of year and duration of the placement will vary so it is important that you check with your academy to see how placements are arranged, and the process you are required to follow.

Work Experience placement can be completed from Year 10 upwards.  If you continue your education in an academy or a sixth form you may have the opportunity to complete a work placement in Year 12.

Working with an organisation in the workplace away from the school environment can be very advantageous. It is an opportunity to gain a valuable insight into the skills and qualities required within a job sector. It providesAn Experience of Work” and involves taking part in “real work” giving you the opportunity to see how an organisation works.

Why Work Experience?
Developing experiences of the work place is extremely beneficial as it helps to

  • Explore work areas to help develop future careers ideas
  • Understand the expectations of employers
  • Establish the skills and qualities required within a profession and organisation 
  • Develop and be aware of transferable skills 
  • Raise awareness of the workplace 
  • Raise awareness of different organisations and their structures
  • Experience the world of work through actively taking part and observing 
  • Understand the relevance and importance of the subjects studied at school 
  • Develop self-confidence and interpersonal skills
  • Gain valuable experience which can be shown on a CV and further/higher education applications

The guidance provided on the buttons below are designed to support pupils who are arranging their own placement. 

However, buttons 3 to 9 also provide useful information for all pupils.