Most schools expect pupils to undertake some form of work experience during Year 10 or 11 and these are often called ‘placements.’ The main purpose of work experience is to give you a chance to find out what it’s like to go to work for a couple of weeks, so the type of job you try is not meant to be a career choice as such. However, lots of people use the opportunity to have a go at something they are interested in and even if they find out it’s not exactly their cup of tea, it can provide a great opportunity to try something new and different and see what you find out about yourself in the process!
If you like science, technology and maths and might be interested in some careers linked to them, Future Morph and the Maths Careers websites are a great place to start finding out more about the type of work experience you could aim for. There is more detailed information on some of the linked websites as well as video profiles and other ways of finding out about some new and different jobs. The Prospects website has examples of science, technology, engineering and maths related jobs and information about careers you probably wouldn’t have thought of yourself. It also lists jobs by ‘families’ which means similar types of jobs are grouped together.
Your school might start talking to you about work experience placements in Year 9, depending on when you are expected to make your choices. It might seem a bit early but if you think about it, there will be hundreds (maybe thousands) of young people in your area going out in Year 10/11 and sometimes the number of employers who can offer a work placement can be limited – so the earlier you make your choice the better chance you have of finding a placement you will enjoy. Having said that, it is a good idea to make sure you do some research before you fill in the paperwork/online form your school will undoubtedly expect.
- Find out if you have a careers adviser, work experience co-ordinator or someone else in school who can tell you where you can find out more and what happens next
- Use the Prospects website to check out careers linked to your interest or subjects you like under the ‘Search’ tab
- Talk to your family and other people you know about what they do at work, what they like about their jobs and what sort of place it is (e.g. friendly? busy? mainly indoors/outdoors?)
- Ask your subject teachers if they have any suggestions about the type of work experience which might suit you
- Speak to anyone whose judgement you trust (e.g. youth workers, people at your church, your friends’ parents) about jobs they have had but remember that they might be a bit out of date so best to check facts with a trusted source (like Future Morph!)
- Most importantly……think about what you like now, your hobbies, the subjects you like, what sort of person you are (e.g. are you chatty or quiet? Do you prefer to be active or stay in one place? Do you like making things or do you prefer helping people?)
- To help you think about the types of job that might suit you, why not check out the ‘What might you be? – game’ and answer the questions in our interactive quiz
- Play our Values game to help identify which values really matter to you.
Have a look at the Careers Website Checklist below for some useful websites from organisations that may be able to give you more information on work experience.