“Work experience” are words that surely lead to immediate eye-rolls and downcast sighs for most young people.
We’re always told that work experience and placements are essential for building up our CVs. We need to impress prospective employers. We need to create a foundation for the first steps in our careers.
Let’s be clear, it is undeniable that improving your chances of finding a job can depend on the type and amount of work experience you’ve accrued, but the idea of having to perform tedious admin tasks for any length of time can be mind-numbing.
However, what our careers officers, parents and councillors may not have told us is that there are many work experience opportunities out there that encourage you to take on stimulating roles and responsibilities. They can also be a valuable opportunity when you’re not sure of what kind of career path you want to pursue. Rather than spend weeks, or even months, in a work placement you’re not keen on, you can split your time over several short term placements in various fields and sectors, giving yourself a sample of the many options available to you (whilst giving a significant boost to the ‘work experience’ section of your CV!)
Work experience shows potential employers that you care about the job you’re applying for and that you’ve put in the time and effort to get first-hand knowledge and experience of their field of work. You’ll be seen as well-equipped to handle the job role’s responsibilities.
I’ve found, from personal experience, that work placements are an excellent way of introducing young people to the wider world of employment. We’re often thrown in the deep end with regards to understanding workplace culture and expectations - communication, presentation, use of space and behaviour, the protocols to follow and of course the diversity of personalities. Work experience shows you how to navigate workplace politics in different sectors and environments. At the same time, it can highlight your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus on the aspects you need to improve.
In today’s market good grades are simply not enough to secure a decent job in your chosen area of interest. So networking through work experience is vital. Building up contacts with various employers will get your name out there as a potential employee with enough knowledge and experience to be well-suited to fill a vacancy. Not only could you more easily secure a job, but recommendations to and from other employers could follow.
BTEG is aware of the difficulties young people are facing today in pursuing a job in line with their aspirations and career goals, as well as securing relevant work experience. In response to this, we have developed a new programme called ‘Work Placements 4 ME’, funded by the City Bridge Trust. The programme secures work placement opportunities for young people aged 18-30, suited to their individual goals and interests, while providing ongoing 1-2-1 support.
If you’re looking for work experience in line with your aspirations, as well as specialist support and guidance, sign up to the Work Placements 4 ME programme by contacting Tebussum Rashid at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 020 7832 5839.