Have you thought about work experience yet?

When you’re still at school it’s the ideal time to have a crack at work experience.

It could help you decide what careers really interest you, as well as which ones to rule out. Which in turn could help you chose which subjects and courses you’ll need to study.

You’ll learn new skills and get insight that could help you both at school and down the track.

It’s never too early or too late to try out different roles and gain more experience. So whether you’re still at school or studying at university, organising a work placement is a smart move.

Some of the main benefits include:

  • Pinning down your personal career goals by sampling different industries and jobs without the commitment of a permanent contract.
  • Gaining first-hand experience of an industry. In addition to having the right qualifications, this could be a competitive advantage over other applicants when you’re applying for jobs.
  • Improving your knowledge and skills.
  • Building up a network of contacts, which could be great for references, recommendations, and potential job opportunities.

You’ll get to

  • see how the working world works
  • experience how people work together
  • find out if an industry or job is as you imagined, and decide if it’s the right fit for you

Give perspective to your schoolwork

  • understand how important good English, maths and tech skills are at work
  • find out how things you’ve learnt about at school are put into practise

Learn and grow

  • get the opportunity to test drive and improve your communication, teamworking, planning, organising, timekeeping, and problem-solving skills, for example
  • teach you to cope in new environments and settings
  • find out how to work co-operatively with people you don’t know
  • build your confidence and independence

Add it to your resume

  • work experience could make you more appealing to potential employers
  • counts as experience on job applications
  • demonstrates you’re motivated and keen to learn
  • you’ll have examples to use during interviews
  • could put you ahead of other applicants

Where to find work experience

If you’re tempted to get some work experience, speak to your school, TAFE or university. As work experience is often included as part of your studies, they may have a program already in place that could get you into some work experience.

Alternatively, you could contact organisations you’d like to work with directly and see if you can score your dream opportunity. Large companies and organisations, your local council and local businesses in your area are good examples of places to start your search.

During high school most of the work experience you’ll undertake will be unpaid. Don’t see that as a negative, you’ll be receiving training, mentoring and exploring your interests and suitability for careers and industries in return.

Volunteering with community or local organisations can count as work experience too, and if you are enthusiastic, reliable and willing to learn, it could lead to more work experience opportunities and potentially job offers.

You can also search on our Work Experience database for placements available to apply for, information, tips and blogs. We’ll also be publishing our complete Guide to Work Experience soon.

In our Guide you’ll find everything you’ll need to know about Work Experience including:

  • The benefits
  • What you can and can’t do
  • What to expect during your placement
  • How to go about finding Work Experience
  • The practicalities of going on your placement
  • Your obligations and the paperwork you’ll need to complete

We can help you get the most out of your placement.


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