Although Year 10 work experience isn’t compulsory any more, that doesn’t mean to say it’s not important; and chances are that if you’re reading this then you already know how important it is and are starting the task of finding a work placement.
Work experience placements are a lot more than just sitting in an office for a week or two, making teas when you’re asked and watching other people work. It’s all about ‘experiencing’ what it’s like to work in the real world, learning new skills whether they’re people skills or job specific skills, and discovering what type of career you’d enjoy in future.
Just to prove how important work experience really is for young people in the current world of work, there was a study carried out which found that 90% of employers now believe that work experience is essential for anyone applying for jobs.
So the fact that you are reading this and looking to do some work experience sets you up well for your future, but we know the hard part is finding a good work experience for you and if you’re someone who hasn’t considered careers yet then you might be short of ideas… so here are some ideas and tips to help you get started.
Coming up with ideas
Being a young person with no previous experience in a work place or even looking for work, can leave you a bit stuck as you might find it hard to come up with some ideas of your own either because you don’t know what careers exist out there, or have only ever heard of people doing work experience as a teacher in their old school. Not many people know it but there is a huge world of opportunities out there in nearly every industry for work experience.
The first and probably best tip we can give you to help you find a work experience is to think of your dream job!
No matter what that job might be, just imagine yourself in 5-10 years.
What would you like to be doing for work?
What industry are you interested in?
Is it Digital Media?
Is your dream career be selling exotic cars across the globe?
Whatever you come up with, that’s a good starting point to consider where you should begin your search for work experience. But it’s important to remember that you’re not likely to find an employer offering work experience in your exact dream job selling exotic cars around the world…
Instead why not break it down and look for a placement at a local car sales showroom, maybe as an office administrator/assistant. Although it’s not your dream job it will let you get a foot in the door and start to get the feel for what car showrooms are like and how the salesmen there work.
This tip for coming up with work experience ideas may lead you to think “What’s so inspirational about someone finding a work experience?” but the type of inspiration we are talking about is a lot closer to home… maybe even in your home. Look for inspiration for your career ideas in the people around you, your parents, aunties, uncles, friends parents.
Speaking to older people who are already out there working in a career is a simple but effective way of discovering new careers you never knew existed, hearing about how those people got in to those careers, and developing your ideas for a work experience you will enjoy and thrive in.
Ask them what their job title is and what they get up to day to day in their job so that you can understand what to expect from different roles. Also knowing the general responsibilities of different job titles will help you when you go in to your work experience and your future job as you will know which people to ask different things if you need help.
Showing an interest in peoples careers can also help you to get the actual work experience if they know you’re looking to start a placement they could well know someone who can help further or even offer you a placement.
FACT | Steve Job’s first work experience was aged 12 on the assembly line at Hewlett Packard
If you don’t feel confident or comfortable speaking to people around you about work, or maybe the people around you always seem to moan about their jobs then they’re probably not worth asking. But there are some more simple, 21st Century ways to find work experience.
Obvious, we know. You might have landed on this page from Google while you were looking for help on work experience, and are totally capable of searching Google for “engineering work experience” or “work experience near me”. Aside from the fact that both those search may not be very effective in finding you work placements as a year 10 student, there are ways you can use the worlds biggest search engine to seek out ideas for work experience.
Going back to what we mentioned earlier in this article about your dream career, job sites can be especially useful if you have a good idea of the job you want to be doing in 5-10 years. As you can use the job sites to find vacancies for that position and look through the job description, specification, and requirements to find out the type of experience and skills that employers are looking for in candidates.
From here you can get a pretty good idea of the skills you need to develop and can go ahead working out which types of work experience you should be considering. Often within a job requirements list an employer will say “experience in motor trade marketing required” or something along those lines which will give you a perfect idea of the work experience to look for.
Believe it or not and although it might feel like it sometimes, you aren’t the only young person out there looking to do some work experience, and possibly struggling to get started. So don’t stress. There are loads of forums online that you can find and chat to other people who are in a similar situation, and in these forums you can also find even more people who have done some work experience in the past.
Chatting to these people can be a really helpful way of coming up with ideas for your work placements, for example you can post a thread on the TheStudentRoom.co.uk and ask “Where did you do your work experience?” and you will get responses from a range of people who all did different things and can suggest ideas for you.
Some useful forums to use:
A bit of self promotion here, but yet another useful tool for ideas is our Careerometer which you can find by clicking here.
Just start typing a job title in to the Careerometer and it will show you a list of careers like the one you are typing. Select one of those careers and it will show you details of the career and the industry including the expected weekly and annual pay, along with the projected growth. Using this will help you to discover new careers and decide if you can imagine yourself pursuing that career, then start to decide on the type of work experience that can help you get there!
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to work experience and I’m sure you will come up with even more questions as you go through the process of applying, and actually beginning the placement, but knowing what you want to get from a work experience from the outset is key to gaining value from any work placement.
So after reading this pretty long post I hope you have learnt some new things, or it’s atleast given you some inspiration for ideas and routes to follow.
Don’t forget that if you live in Buckinghamshire or the surrounding areas then you can take a look at all of the available work experience placements at local & national business on our Work Experience Vacancies section by clicking below.