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Work Experience Advice

Advice and guidance on finding your own work placement. Think carefully about the sort of work that you are interested in:

  • What sort of tasks are you happy to complete?
  • Do you want to work inside or outside?
  • Ask around at school. Try to speak to some students that have already completed a placement.
  • Remember, this is an opportunity to try out something that you may not have considered before, so keep you options open.
  • Discuss your ideas with your parent or carer and teachers, they may have friends who work in the type of organisation you are interested in.

Start early and do your research

  • Once you have decided the area of work you are interested in you need to start contacting relevant companies and organisations.
  • Start the process of contacting companies as early as possible, especially if you are trying to arrange a placement at a very large organisation.
  • Many of these companies have their own work experience processes that need to be followed.

How to find out information and contact details of companies that interest you:

  • Google the type of work you are interested in and the area you’d like to work in. For example, garages in Northampton.
  • Look through the phone book or yellow pages.
  • Look in the local paper.
  • Brainstorm organisations that interest you and research them on the internet.

How to approach companies and organisations

  • You could phone them, write to them, email them or visit them in person.
  • If you are approaching a large organisation address your letter or email to the Human Resources or Recruitment Manager.
  • If you are approaching a smaller organisation or a local store, the personal touch is usually best. Visit the company at a quiet time, ask to speak with the owner or manager and explain that you will soon be completing work experience and would be very interested in a placement within company.
  • Remember to take your form with you as you will need the employer’s signature if they agree.

Things to remember:

  • Do your research.
  • Start the process as early as possible, some companies require up to one-years notice.
  • Contact more than one company at a time, some may say no due to a variety of reasons.
  • Don’t take it personally if a company is unable to offer you a placement.
  • If you do not receive a reply form your letter contact the company to.
  • Ensure they have received it.
  • Make sure the Own Find Form is completed in full by you, the employer and you parent/carer.
  • Take note of your schools cut off dates, if you have not secured a placement by then, select from Proactive Education’s database.
  • Make sure you can get to the company and that travelling will not cost you too much.

Top tips for your placement

  • Attend every day and always arrive in plenty of time
  • Treat everyone with consideration and be polite at all time
  • Be enthusiastic and show a positive attitude to your work
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the placement
  • Listen carefully to instructions and ask if you do not understand
  • Think before you act and work safely
  • If you have a problem with work talk to your supervisor
  • If you can’t sort out a problem at work tell your teacher
  • Keep a record of everything you do and fill in your work experience diary
  • Send a “thank you” letter to your placement provider afterwards

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