Virtual work experience is on the rise.
Traditional work experience is still around, but it can be challenging to find a placement, let alone ones in the industry at the top of your preference list. And that’s before pandemics come into play.
Virtual Work Experience could make it easier for you to access opportunities in the work environments you’d most like to try out. Another bonus of the virtual world is that those experiences are not limited to students living locally, applicants can be from anywhere across Australia, even the most remote or regional areas.
We spoke to Dhawal Nayak, founder and CEO at Grandshake, to answer a few commonly asked questions about Virtual Work Experience.
SWG: Why Work Experience?
Dhawal: Work experience allows individuals to explore and test potential career paths with the core purpose of learning within a professional environment. As such, interns often gain access to unique networking and pathway opportunities.
SWG: What are the benefits of virtual work experience?
Dhawal: Virtual work experience, also known as ‘remote learning’, offers the same benefits of physical placements; however, with the extra bonus of accessibility and flexibility. Meaning, students can network with industry professionals, participate in real-word projects and earn credentials from the comfort of their own home. Log in anytime, anywhere.
SWG: How is virtual work experience different to normal work experience?
Dhawal: One of the core benefits of Grandshake work experience is the opportunity to freely trial different careers, to determine what you do and don’t like.
SWG: What do employers think about virtual work experience?
Dhawal: As the workplace evolves as a result of COVID-19, so do the demands of employers. Initially, work placements were expected to be a casualty of the pandemic. Instead, many employers have embraced virtual internships or work experience tools as they help them identify future talent as easily as possible.
SWG: Do your students have to pay anything, and/or do they get paid for their work?
Dhawal: Our virtual work experiences are sponsored by industry, enabling us to offer them free to all young people aged 14-19. At the end, students receive an industry recognised microcredential detailing their achievements across the 4 week course.
SWG: Does Grandshake count as Structured Workplace Learning?
Dhawal: No, Grandshake virtual work experiences and microprograms are not currently integrated within school curriculums.
SWG: How many times can I try a work experience placement?
Dhawal: Given the customisation of our experiences, students are encouraged to enrol into as many work experiences and microprograms as they desire. However, we advise that students only actively participate in one work experience at a time.
SWG: What happens if I don’t like it?
Dhawal: We encourage students to complete the 4 weeks to gain the full experience so they can better understand what they liked, or didn’t like, about the role or culture. However, if a student needs or wishes to withdraw, our facilitators will support them to pursue one of the following options:
– Pausing experience progress – student can return upon a later date
– Additional support – we will connect the student with a supportive team member to assist them through the work experience
– Withdrawal – any student can withdraw from any experience, at any time.
SWG: Do I have to work outside of school hours?
Dhawal: If a school does not offer Grandshake virtual work experience as part of the curriculum, students usually complete the work outside of school hours. We do advise students to complete Grandshake activities outside of teaching periods; however, it is ultimately up to the school.
SWG: What kinds of things will students get to do?
Dhawal: Across the 4 week virtual work experience, students will:
– Connect with industry mentors through live sessions;
– Learn about their industry and specific field;
– Engage with their peers via a virtual workplace;
– Work on and pitch a real-world company project;
– Develop industry relevant technical and soft skills
SWG: What can students expect from your programs?
Dhawal: Through completing Grandshake virtual work experiences students can expect to learn and apply the skills necessary to thrive in the workplace. They will leave with practical knowledge they can apply to real world situations in their chosen field and gain exposure to what it is like to work in a professional environment.
SWG: Is it easy to apply for one of your virtual work experiences?
Dhawal: Our sign up process is as easy as can be! Students simply need to visit our website, sign up via the button located in our top-right menu, and then enrol into a virtual work experience in a field they’re interested in.
We have a weekly intake every Monday for each virtual work experience. Students commence the next Monday that occurs after they sign up.
SWG: How can students prepare for work experience?
Dhawal: It is advised that prior to enrolling into a virtual work experience, students are able to allocate 2-4 hours per week. Other than this, all a student needs is a WIFI connection and a can-do attitude!
SWG: What should students do after their work experience is complete?
Dhawal: Upon completing a virtual work experience, students should implement Week 4’s advice surrounding future pathways and networking. This includes tips on how to stay connected with mentors, how to utilise their new microcredential, and the next steps in their education or career path. They are also encouraged to take a look at the other virtual work experiences and microprograms Grandshake offers to gain some more insight into other industries that the students may be interested in.
SWG: Thanks Dhawal for taking the time to answer our questions.
Grandshake is an online skills platform providing FREE work experience, career guidance and industry mentoring to all Australian students within Australia.
The platform is built upon their belief that all students should have access to industry opportunities within STEM, no matter their geographic location or financial situation. Therefore, all offerings are free, accessible through any WIFI device anywhere and customisable to every student’s time schedule.
Each work experience occurs across a 4 week period, where students complete weekly check-ins, connect with industry mentors, and deliver their own real-world project.
Through completing Grandshake virtual work experiences students learn the skills necessary to thrive in their chosen industry and how to apply them within a professional environment.