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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Work experience in Years 10 and 11

You will probably do work experience at some point during Year 10 or 11. It’s a great chance to get a taste of a job and see what skills you’re going to need for the world of work.

Work experience: how it can help you

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

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

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. 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. And the Diploma qualification - available in selected schools and colleges - involves at least ten days of work experience.

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.

Making the most of your placement: top tips

If you want to get the most out of your work experience, there are a few things you should do both during and after your placement.

During your placement

You should be given a placement mentor or supervisor. They will give you a tour and tell you everything you need to know on your first day, so make sure you ask them any general questions you have. The supervisor will make sure you understand the health and safety rules and your own responsibilities while you’re at work.

Your school will probably ask you to keep a record of your placement, so remember to write down what you've done at the end of every day and any comments that you'd like to make.

You should also remember to act professionally at all times during your placement. There may be some days when you only get a little bit of work to do, or the people you are working with are too busy to go through things with you – be patient.

After your placement

Once your placement is over, take a look over the notes you have made and have a think about what you've achieved and how well you think you've done. Your placement employer should also give you feedback. If they don't, make sure you ask for it.

You may also want to add details about your placement to your CV if you're thinking of applying for a part-time or holiday job.

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