Work experience serves as a “stepping stone” for young people who are considering potential jobs and career avenues, offering prime opportunities to learn and advance educational qualifications whilst gaining the hands-on experience required to thrive in a work environment. There is no doubt that work experience can help a person stand out from the crowd for apprenticeships and job opportunities.

For a young person, work experience is an opportunity to:

  • test out career ideas
  • gain clarity on career options
  • improve skills
  • show commitment and enthusiasm
  • enhance confidence
  • network with employers and other employees

Through our Route to Employment courses, we support all our learners to gain the educational qualifications they need and provide at least 2 weeks work placement. . We have a huge network of employer partners to give our learners a variety of work experience opportunities every month.

Brandon joined City Gateway with a hope to gain the qualifications and work experience so he can find his dream job. It was not all smooth sailing to begin with but he was ready to take the challenge and committed to his goals. We supported him to create his resume and apply for work experience. Earlier this year, Brandon landed 2-weeks work placement with an employer of his choice. Our team ensured that he got all the support he needed to apply, gain and start his work experience in a timely manner.

Why do we recommend work experience before starting a full time job?

During our employability classses, we emphasise to all our learners that work experience is a very important part of their employment journey because this can help them:

  • find out more about themselves
  • find out what inspires them
  • come up with career ideas and try them out
  • discover strengths, values, motivations and interests
  • meet new people and build network of contacts
  • identify any reasonable adjustments they may need because of a disability or long term health condition

Work experience can also help rule out options, which can help to focus on specific career ideas of interest.

“City Gateway helped me get my 2 week work placement. It was a great experience going to work every day. I did so many things and I learnt a lot. It helped me with my confidence and skills.” – Brandon

Work experience is great opportunity to build your soft skills. Employers look for employees who can show that they are:

  • trustworthy and reliable
  • good communicators
  • great team players
  • able to solve problems
  • willing to learn new things
  • able to adapt and ‘bounce back’ when things do not go to plan

These soft skills are common skills that are not specific to any one job but useful for most. Young people can learn and practise these skills in any workplace. Use past experience to show an employer that they have the skills needed for the role.

To all young people – treat work experience as a challenge

As a young person looking to get into full-time employement, we know it is daunting to get into work environment straight away. Therefore, work experience is a great opportunity – setting yourself a challenge will take you out of your comfort zone but you will gain a lot as a result. For example, young people could try to overcome difficulties like:

  • communicating with people – try a customer service role to practise dealing with the public
  • working with others – build your confidence in a job where you can be part of a small team

Looking for work experience opportunities?

  • talk to your teachers, family and friends for ideas
  • ask people you know about their jobs and the places they work
  • talk to older students who have already done work experience
  • find out if your school, college or university has organised placements you can choose from
  • get advice from a careers leader or careers adviser
  • get in touch with us by clicking here: