GCSE Work Experience
The majority of GCSE students will have the opportunity to prepare for the world of work through work experience while at school. Work experience typically tends to be during Year 9 or Year 10 at school – so it does not jeopardise or get in the way of your GCSE revision or exams. Firms and companies around the UK offer valuable opportunities for young individuals, either through the work experience set up during your school, or a work experience placement set up outside of school. Work experience contracts can last between 1 day or 3 weeks, depending on your school and the firm, and it can help you decide whether a career path is well-suited to you or not as there are many career options after taking GCSE’s.
How to secure work experience during your GCSEs?
Your school or sixth form will usually have some links with local businesses where students can apply through the school for GCSE work experience, while other institutions may encourage students to secure their work placement. The school will allow you to think about what work experience you want to complete, and if they have links with companies will inform you of the list of work experience vacancies available then you decide which one(s) to apply for.
The advantages of a work placement
A work placement is a great way to prepare young individuals for the world of work and to gain experience in a field that they are inexperienced. Students typically only understand the world of education and have never had the chance to experience anything connected to the workplace. It also provides insight into a potential career, how to achieve that job role and what path you need to get there. It will also put into action the skills and information that you learn at school, for example, IT classes will show you how to put these skills into practice if you gained work experience in an office. It’s often brought up what happens after you take your GCSE’s and there are many options. On option is when it comes to GCSE results day, you will have your grades as well as experince in the working enviroment, therefore you can be a step ahead of other students looking for work! It can also prepare you for the future if you deicde to study at university, there will be courses with placement, essentially working and studying.
What is a work placement like?
The majority of work placements are able to teach students about the world of work in general, what a day-to-day job role entails – specific to that job, company and title – as well as how that industry works in general. Most work placements will assign a mentor to the student that will look after them the entire duration of their placements. Mentors are there to make you feel safe, have someone to direct questions to, or even if you are having any issues or problems you can turn to them for advice and support. A mentor wants you to enjoy your time during your work placement, and you will most likely spend most of your time with them. The experince can help when you are looking for a part-time job as you have some experience in the working world already, so you will be a better candidate than others with no experince, so be sure you can continue to manage working and studying as you don’t want to hinder your education.
The benefits of work experience
There are many benefits of a work placement and/or experience, listed below:
- Obtaining experience in a potential career path
- Finding out more information about a particular industry
- Learning new skills, such as; management, communication and the ability to work within a team
- Employment opportunities after school/after the work placement
- A great achievement to display on your CV – how to write a student CV
- Learning technical or academic skills
- Applying knowledge you learned in school in a practical setting
- Meeting new people and creating new contacts
- Preparing yourself for the world of work
Work experience through your school and/or college
As mentioned above, some institutions will include work experience as part of their curriculum either during Year 9 or Year 10. If this is the case, you may have to ensure you form a good impression and work hard during your work experience, or your employer or the company may contact your school reporting bad behaviour.
Ensure you show up on time, or even early to your shifts, don’t take longer breaks and leave when your shift or agreed time is due. Work hard each and every day and through each task that is assigned to you, pretend that it is your job and take it seriously, to obtain a strong work ethic. If you act out or ignore orders from line managers, they can pass this information back to your school, and if your school states that you have to ‘pass’ the work experience, then you could end up in trouble.
Furthermore, if you want to put the work experience on your CV, then you want to form a decent impression so that you can ask for the company or firm to give you a reference when it comes to you applying for real work afterwards. If you leave on a bad note or underperformed, they will remember and won’t write you a reference at all.
If you like the idea of of having work experince while staying in education, then it worth looking into student internships. It allows students to work in an industry they are interested in on their days off from education, or when they are broken up from termt ime.