Work experience is an opportunity for a young person to experience the world of work first hand. Up until that point they may have heard about the world of work from family, friends or on television but they get to see it for themselves and experience the good and bad side of working.
I once worked with a year 10 student who had always wanted to be a hairdresser. I placed her in a hairdresser, and she called me on the second day to tell me that she wanted to leave. She had not expected to be on her feet all day and thought that she could start styling straightaway. They were in for a shock when they realised that this was not the case. Despite me warning them about the realities of hairdressing they thought that it would a different experience for them. I encouraged her to remain on the placement for the rest of the week and when she came back to school, she told me that she no longer wanted to be a hairdresser. In my eyes this was a successful placement because even though the student no longer wanted to be a hairdresser, the placement had taken them one step closer to deciding their future career option. Without work experience, this student may have chosen to pursue hairdressing in the future and only then realised that it was not for them
These are the further benefits of work experience:
- Helps students to understand employer expectations
- Students can add the experience to their CV
- Students develop their employability skills
- Students may get a part time job because of their placement