The idea of work experience, especially once you’re of working age, can be off-putting. Work experience is almost always voluntary and this can make it seem unappealing, but the huge benefits it can bring to your career prospects and the decisions it can help you make, can be instrumental in your future job choice and success. You may have a set idea about the industry you want to work in or you may not be sure, in both these instances there is a lot to be gained from taking time to explore your chosen area of interest through work experience.
Gain Real Insight into the World of Work
You may have had a Saturday job or considered casual work, but work experience is designed to give you real-life insight and experience of a role you’re hoping for in the future. While you may only be helping out on an entry level basis, work experience will incorporate the opportunity to see how the work environment in your chosen industry operates. Your work experience coordinator or provider will ensure you are given a genuine insight into how they operate and the roles within their industry you could aim for.
Perfect Addition (or Alternative) to Classroom Learning
Some people simply do not flourish in the classroom or lecture hall environment. Work experience is all about showing you how the real world functions and how there are opportunities to learn on the job. Many people say they’ve learned much more “on the job” than in the classroom and there is, of course, the chance to combine the two with a range of training schemes and apprenticeships designed to deliver just that.
Develop New, Transferable Skills
Even a short period of work experience will ensure you gain new experiences and learn things you couldn’t in any other environment. On-the-job skills can be extremely valuable, even if you change your mind about the industry you’ve had work experience in. Valuable life skills such as communication, teamwork and organisation are built as you spend more time in an adult environment and get used to the norms of every day working life.
Expand your CV
Any opportunity to add skills and experiences to your CV should be sought after when you’re new to the world of work. CVs of school leavers all look very similar so the more you can do to stand out, the better. Showing off skills you’ve developed in the real workplace, even on an unpaid basis, will help you make a great impression on paper before you’re even at the interview stage for future jobs or training.
Work experience is an effective way of getting to know a profession you are interested in and preparing yourself more generally for the world of work. In a world where there is high demand in many sectors, we need to do all we can to make a great first impression and stand out.