Opportunities for experience

There are various opportunities available to you for gaining relevant work-related experience:

  • Work-related experience while at school or college
  • Placements or work-related experience from further education (FE) courses
  • Summer activities – though many are not based on employers’ premises, but can include projects which have visits to employers facilities as part of the programme
  • Gap year placements.

Work-related experience while at school or college

Some students get part-time jobs while they are still at school or college and may want to use this opportunity to get a job related to science or maths. If you decide to gain some work experience this way, then you will need to approach employers directly and arrange it yourself. Refer to the Applying for courses and work to help you with this.

There are two engineering schemes that offer relevant work-related experience which may be of interest to you:

  • The Engineering Education Scheme (England) links teams of four Year 12 students and their teacher with local companies, to work on real scientific, engineering and technological problems with exciting outcomes. All key life skills are developed within the context of the world of work. Personal development education realised through work related learning is at the core of this high quality educational enrichment scheme. More information is available at www.thescheme.org.uk.
  •  The Royal Academy of Engineering’s Better Engineering, Science, Technology (Best) runs a Young Engineers national network of science, engineering, electronics and technology clubs for 8–19 year olds in schools and colleges. Students can take part in team and individual projects that cover a wide range of engineering disciplines supported by teachers, Science & Engineering Ambassadors (SEAs) and local companies. Clubs are run by schools – ask one of your science, technology, engineering or maths teachers to find out whether there is a club near you.

NB. Most of the national schemes are competitive, and you will need to prepare for them as seriously as for applications for higher education (HE) or employment – see Applying for courses and work.

Work experience for medicine, dentistry, nursing and midwifery

If you want to study health-related degrees at university, chances are you’re going to need some relevant experience. You could get this by volunteering or working at your local hospital, or you could spend a few weeks on a hospital placement abroad with a company like Gap Medics. They provide hospital work experience in countries like Tanzania, Thailand and the Czech Republic – perfect for learning more about medical careers and experiencing another culture! You can read about Grant and Katy – two students who went on these placements – here.

Placements or work-related experience from further education (FE) courses

Many vocational courses at FE colleges include placements or work-related experience e.g. BTEC National Diplomas. Arrangements for finding placements vary; in some cases you will need to find your own, in which case your college may have suggestions for companies to contact. They may also use the s-cool WEX online database. If that’s the case, you can search the database to help you identify suitable potential employers.

Alternatively, your placement or work experience may be organised through an Education Business Parntership (EBP), Careers Scotland or Careers Wales. Once an arrangement has been agreed with an employer, the EBP, Careers Scotland or Careers Wales (whichever is relevant) will process the details and arrange a health and safety check with them.