Work Experience

Work experience helps learners understand and develop the employability skills and positive ‘can-do’  attitude  employers are looking for. For many learners it helps them understand their own strengths, and areas for development, it builds confidence in handling new situations and in working within a team of adults. It helps young people connect their education with their future working lives and provides real opportunities to become clearer about their future career options.

Many students gain a valuable experience through work experience which allows them to develop their employability skills and ‘blossom’ in such an environment, finding new reserves of initiative and maturity. They clearly develop a sense of the demands of the workplace and working life, and some may indeed continue in such jobs when they leave school. Often such jobs will link them to further educational and vocational qualifications.

Ms Ollie Riches
Work Experience Co-ordinator
Ms Michelle Sullivan
Work Experience Co-ordinator

Important Information

Work Experience will take place from:

Monday 1st July - Friday 12th July 2024

Please avoid booking holidays in this time as this is a valuable opportunity for your child which we cannot provide at any other time.

Work Experience Timeline

  • All paperwork will need to be returned to school for the attention of Ms Riches or Ms Sullivan by Friday 1st March 2024
  • Ensure that any medical conditions and regular medications are declared in a separate letter for the attention of Ms Riches / Ms Sullivan
  • Students must contact the employer 4 weeks before placement is due to start to check that the employer is still expecting them.

It is really important that parents support their child through the work experience process.

Please remember this is an experience of work and it is not always feasible to obtain experience in a possible future career pathway, so it may be worth your child looking at something that will give them experience suitable for part time work for when they are at college or looking for an apprenticeship.

Please make a note of the dates mentioned in the timeline, in particular reminding your child to contact their placement 4 weeks before their placement is due to start to arrange a meeting to confirm final arrangements. Students will be reminded to do this on several occasions leading up to the start date, to avoid any issues so that your child is clear about

  • Start and Finish times
  • Dress code
  • Name of person to ask for on the first day
  • Job role
  • Time of lunch breaks

It is also essential that if your child is making their own way to the placement they have a practise run beforehand (half term/weekends are ideal for doing this), check bus times if applicable, route etc.

Ms Riches and Ms Sullivan deal with all aspects of work experience. If you have any questions or problems about your child’s work experience, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time between now and the end of the work experience fortnight.     

Useful Links

Work Experience Template Letter

Arranging your own work experience placement 

How to find a placement?

Work experience is a great way to learn more about the world of work and gain valuable skills and experience that will look great on your CV! By researching and arranging your own placement you’ll have a better chance of working in an industry or profession you’re actually interested in.

Finding a placement can be daunting. Not sure where to start? How about some of the following?

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Local Businesses
  • Connections
  • Past WEX employers
  • Google
  1. Family is often a good source for finding placements - think, what do your parents/guardians do? How about your brothers & sisters, or your aunties & uncles?
  2. Do you already know anywhere you may like to work? e.g. A shop that you like, or an organisation you pass on the way to school? – you can just go in and politely ask if they offer Work Experience placements.
  3. Do some online research. If you have an idea of where you would like to do your WEX, go to Type kind of work you would like to do, e.g. “solicitor”, and the area you would like to work in, e.g. “SW15”. Yell will give you every solicitor in SW15. Give this a try:

  1. Schools, nurseries and care homes are always happy to offer Work Experience (WEX) placements.
  2. Co-Op shops offer a number of placements – let us know your name and which branch you would like to go to and we will check if places are available at your chosen branch.
  3. Try searching in Google Maps “businesses/shops/restaurants/cafes/etc near me” - this may help with ideas and contact details.
  4. Walk down your high street and pop in to all different shops to ask if they offer work experience placements.
  5. Have you thought of Boots, Superdrug and pharmacies?
  6. Gunwharf (and other retail centres) – shops and Vue cinema.
  7. Charity shop
  8. Libraries, museums, community centres, churches

We have a limited list of employers who have accepted students in the past – you could try contacting them.

NB! The more specific your request is, the harder it may be to find a placement - you may need to “cast your net wider”. Many popular destinations fill up quickly. Many have moved their operations to working from home – this has particularly affected IT, HR, Legal and many customer services, which makes finding WEX placements in these areas harder.

What Year 10 students have said about work experience...

I was really scared on my first day, but everyone was really friendly, they took me around to all the different departments and showed me what to do. I never used to like answering the phone before but I don't mind now.

I am a lot more confident in school since I did my work experience. I really didn't want to do it but glad that I did as now I know what I want to do when I leave school

I really enjoyed my work experience, I got to work with different people, I gave a presentation to some staff. I have a lot more confidence now.

My placement was great; I am going to apply for an Apprenticeship next year!

I LOVED my work experience, I know that this is what I want to do when I leave college... I can't wait!

I was so tired for the first few days, I thought that when I left school that I wanted to work with small children.. I don't want to now; they cry so much.

What previous employers have said about our students...

Wow... put some of the adults to shame, came back from lunch early, got on with the work, is a natural and not afraid to muck in.

Helped set up events, did a presentation to students and did very well

Did very well, one of the best we have had - turned up on time each day (7:30AM start), didn't say much to start with but soon settled in.

We hadn't taken anyone on work experience before. Really pleased we were able to give a young person this opportunity, we were very impressed with them!

Important Documents

  • Make a list of at least 10 places. Call/visit and ASK! E.g. “Hello, I’m enquiring about the possibility of organising a work experience placement from ...” They will tell you what to do next.
  • If the first 10 refuse, make a list of the next 10, and so on.
  • Competition for work experience can be really tough, so you'll need to make the right impression when asking for it.
  • Be selfish. Don’t ask for you AND a friend- you are unlikely to find a placement this way.
  • Do not despair – you may get 20 nos, but the 21st will be a yes (just bear in mind that some companies/services do not offer wex at all, eg police, emergency services, social care, clinical settings, etc).
  • Remember, if you put in a lot of effort, turn up on time, be polite and helpful then not only will you get a good review that you can use in the future but you also get a good connection with people who may hire you in the future. Work experience is great for networking, and you never know, someone who you work with now could be a hiring manager in the future and it could make getting a job easier.
  • Enjoy your work experience. At times it may seem hard and different from what you are used to but that’s the difference between school and a job. Use this experience to grow as a person and also learn about the different types of jobs out there.
  • You may not be able to find the work experience of your choice - if this happens don’t sulk and try to make the most of it. You may end up surprising yourself and enjoying the work experience more than you thought. 

Good luck! You’ve got this. And if you feel stuck, come speak to Mrs Riches or Mrs Russell in the Info Centre.