We’re delighted to temporarily welcome Bea to the team. Bea is a Year 12 student at St Mary’s Catholic High School in Chesterfield. She got in touch with us to ask if she could join us every Wednesday afternoon to gain work experience. We were delighted to say ‘yes’.
For anyone else in two minds about whether or not to do work experience, read on to learn why it’s the right decision for Bea and her top tips for securing a placement.
A study by The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has shown that 88% of businesses think school leavers are unprepared for the workplace. The findings were in BCC’s annual Workforce Survey.
As an A level student who has never had a job, I believe work experience is vital for young people in today’s society, where a school’s main priority is academic success. But why will work experience set you apart from other people? And how do you get work experience as a young person?
My name is Bea and I’m currently doing A Levels at St Mary’s High School, studying German, French and English literature. Recently, I was offered the opportunity by school to do work experience, and now I’m part of the team at In The Works PR every Wednesday afternoon until Christmas.
I’d absolutely recommend work experience to people my age, as it’s this that makes you stand out from the crowd to employers. According to youthemployment.org there are five definitive skills that employers look for: teamwork, communication, problem solving, self-belief and self-management. Work experience means you leave school not only with qualifications but also these skills already in the bag.
If you feel anxious or don’t know where to start to get a work experience placement, it’s much easier than you think. Here are my top tips and what I did to get to get my work experience at In the Works PR:
Work out where you want to go
There are hundreds of work experience placements out there, with companies more than willing to take you on. If you’re at school in Derbyshire, then one way to find a placement would be to look on the Derbyshire Work Experience website. You’ll need a login, but your school should be able to give you this. This is exactly what I did and it’s here that I found In the Works PR listed. Alternatively, if you know exactly where you want to go then research the company’s contact details and give them a call.
Contact the company
Whether you decide to email or call the company, or even visit them yourself, make sure you appear professional, reliable and passionate. Businesses get many emails every day so there’s the risk that yours may get lost. That’s why it’s best to pick up the phone and ask to speak to the person who deals with work experience students. This is a great way to make a connection.
They might want to you go in for an interview, so make sure you have researched what the company does and can talk about why you want to do work experience there. Ask lots of questions – you want to be clear about what tasks you will undertake and what rules you must follow.
Get the most out of your work experience
Perhaps you know exactly the career you want, in which case you can use work experience to give you a head start in the competitive job market. However, you might be like me and have no idea of what you want to do when you’re older. Work experience can help you realise what job sector you want to work in, as well as teaching you how to work in an active working environment and also identify your strengths and weaknesses.
With more than three-quarters (76%) of employers in the BCC survey reporting a lack of work experience as one of the key reasons young people are unprepared for work, getting work experience on your CV while you’re still at school is a no brainer.
For anyone who isn’t sure whether to do work experience or not, my advice would be to absolutely go for it. There’s nothing to lose and you’ll only improve and learn. Good luck!