Work experience

Work experience is the opportunity for a young person to gain an insight of what it’s like to work in a specific field or occupation. The placements are usually short and the work can be unpaid.  However, some employers may contribute towards expenses or pay a small amount as a gesture of goodwill.

As an employer, you have the opportunity to help shape the future workforce and give your employees the chance to develop their supervisory skills.

Pre-16 Work Experience
Secondary students, usually in year 10 and 11, and sixth form students are expected to find their own work placements but schools and colleges can help with this too. Most learners undertake a two week block which helps them to learn more about work and helps prepare them for their future contribution to society.

Post 16 Work Experience
Work experience placements don’t stop at secondary school as many university courses involve work placements too. Some key programmes are:

  • Vocational Placements support vocational courses which require direct knowledge of the industry. They are sometimes part of the course requirements and they are usually unpaid.
  • Traineeships provide a structured opportunity for young people who are motivated by work to develop the skills and experience they need in order to be attractive to employers.
  • Apprenticeships provide a real job with training so that you can earn as you learn. They take between 1-4 years to complete and cover 1400 job roles.
  • Internships provide on-the-job training generally for white collar and professional careers. They can be paid or voluntary and sometimes the student has to pay the employer for the experience.


A full guide is available for employers specifically for work experience placements.


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