What is work experience?
Work experience is a period of time that a young person spends working in a company as a form of training; a short unpaid period of time, to gain experience of a working environment over a period of one week. This is undertaken as part of their career education. The type of job they try is not meant to be a career choice but many young people use the opportunity to have a go at something they are interested in. They find it is useful even if it is not exactly what they expected. It can provide a great opportunity to try something new and different and to see what they can find out about themselves in the process.
Why is Work Experience important?
Young people need to be prepared for the world of work. Employability skills cannot be fully developed in the classroom so experience in the workplace is essential. Work Experience can support young people in a number of ways including:
- Increasing confidence, self-esteem and independence
- Giving an opportunity to demonstrate personal qualities and having a ‘hands-on’ experience
- Learning new skills and/or improving those already attained
- Raising aspirations
- Working with adults other than teachers or school staff
- Understanding Health & Safety in the workplace
- Providing evidence for employment or further education interviews
- Confirming, or not in some cases, an interest in a particular career area
Chichester High School promotes, supports and has developed a constructive work experience programme for all our Year 10 students. Our students are encouraged to find their own placements through family, friends, local businesses, discussing with parents or any other sources. They can do this by researching the suggestions from school and by discussing with friends, family, looking at online business directories or just going into a local business. The process requires a lot of planning and preparation, which has to begin many months in advance and the students are expected to be actively involved in this process in its entirety.
What can I do as a parent?
As a parent, you will want your child to get the most out of their work experience but the aim of the experience is to develop their confidence and begin to understand the world of work which may not necessarily be related to any career ideas.
Work experience is good way to improve a CV, to gain valuable skills needed for the work place to improve self-esteem and it may also help your child decide what they might like to do in the future.
At various stages there will be a requirement for parental consent and signed agreements; however we must emphasise the main responsibility for the organisation and action should lie with your child. This includes selecting and confirming a placement, handing in all necessary paperwork and making arrangements for travel or interviews (these must not be arranged during the school day), etc.
Please support your child and ensure they meet all deadlines in order for the placement to be a success, both for themselves and the employer.