With 96 of our Year 10 students about to embark on their work experience placements, Wesley College took a moment to ask Head of Career Development, Ms Jayne Duncan, about the benefits of work experience.
In the changing world of work, it is essential that young people have the opportunity to experience success in the workplace. For some students, a work experience placement reassures them that they are on the right career path, while others realise their expectation of a certain industry and the reality don’t align – which is always best discovered sooner rather than later!
For those students who are undecided about what career to embark on, work experience becomes an opportunity to undertake ‘work inspiration’.
Of course, work experience isn’t just confined to the time the students spend off-campus. As well as the time spent out in the wider world, our students spend time completing a series of activities in their mentor classes, designed to get them ready for the workplace.
How Can Students Prepare for Work Experience?
The first thing for students is to think about the industry they’d like to experience. This could begin by chatting to adult friends and family members about their careers and what they’ve found inspiring about their work.
Also consider interests such as hobbies, passions and favourite subjects. Could any of those things translate into ideas for work experience placements? Our students also use online profiling tools to determine potential career interests and follow up with research on the Myfuture website.
Wesley students complete an Occupational Health and Safety Certificate and create a resume that documents their demonstrated skills. Perhaps most importantly, the students are encouraged to show their initiative by sourcing their own work experience placement for one week in either June or September.
How Can a Student Find a Work Experience Placement?
The search for a work experience placement is always a little overwhelming at first. The first step is to focus on a specific industry. Then:
- Ask friends and family if they know anybody in that industry. A personal connection can be invaluable.
- Call or email local businesses with a polite introduction and ask what their work experience placement process is.
- Have a scroll through the listings on job websites like Seek or Indeed to see companies in the chosen field.
- Google terms such as ‘Work experience Year 10’ plus the industry of interest.
Keep in mind, that sometimes it’s simply not possible to find a placement in a specific field. At that point, consider an entirely different industry that might offer you some transferable skills.
Ultimately, wherever you end up, you’ll still get a chance to demonstrate that you are able to be professional in that environment and take on responsibilities. Those are skills that every employer seeks.
Why Should Year 10s Take Part in Work Experience?
In the workplace students get to demonstrate a broad range of skills. Initiative, problem-solving, communication and self-management skills are transferrable to every workplace. There is no better way for students to develop these important employability skills, and an understanding of different industry areas, than being in a real workplace. This is also a time for networking opportunities and, importantly, helping students consider their career pathway and further study.
10 Reasons for Students to do Work Experience!
- It’s a confidence booster
- Work experience builds your resume
- There are networking opportunities
- Work experience is a career conversation starter
- It improves communication skills
- Students on work experience learn more about the world of work
- Students can then make career decisions based on a realistic understanding of the workplace
- Work experience increases the motivation to succeed at school to achieve career goals
- At the end of the placement, students gain references from workplace supervisors
- Finally, the big one… Some students are even lucky enough to be offered jobs!
Surveys have shown that around two-thirds of employers are seeking graduates who have some work experience on their resume because it shows that they have a general business awareness. So, embrace the opportunity to get a taste of the workplace and see where it takes you!
This article was written by Wesley College’s Head of Career Development Ms. Jayne Duncan
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