Work experience is when you work for free in a real job which you may be interested in. It’s a good chance for you to get a taste of a job and see what skills you are going to need. At the end of the work experience a character reference is usually provided. This reference and the experience you get from your work experience may help you find a paid job.
Organising work experience
To organise work experience you should:
- Research what job you are interested in
- Contact local companies and organisations to see whether they could offer you a work experience placement
- Think about how you will get there, how many hours you will be able to do and days you want to work
- Inform the company or organisation what you want to get out of the work experience to make sure it is suitable
Mark’s story about work experience
“Lots of work experience helped me know what job I wanted. I found out what work I wanted to do”.
“It all started when I was in Piccadilly Garden which is about helping people to develop in work skills. Through this I managed to find various advocacy groups such as Learning Together. Through this came a vacancy as a project worker with React which is about networking amongst different advocacy groups all over Lancashire. Through this I heard of a vacancy with The Quality Company which is about checking the quality of supported houses. Also through React I got involved with the National and Regional Forum and Northwest Training and Development Team.
I found out about a vacancy as a Conference Friend with Pathways Associates. I was successful with all these Jobs now “yeay” I am working full time and earning full time wages. I am now better off. It feels great to be earning all my own cash and be doing work that I love.”
You can try a profession or a job for a short time. You will not be paid but you will be doing a real job. You can decide the number of hours a week you work and how long the experience lasts. Work experience may lead to paid employment.
The following organisations may be able to help you arrange work experience:
Job Centre Plus
You can visit your local Job Centre or:
Tel: 0345 604 3719
Lancashire County Council Employment supports people with disabilities to successfully gain and retain employment through one to one support.
Tel: 01257 516037
Some college courses may also include work experience. Ask at your local college. Go to the College page. Add the link to the college page here.