Work Experience

Work Experience 

Work experience is an integral part of Year 10 and provides an opportunity for young people to gain an insight into the ‘world of work’ and to help prepare them for the responsibilities and opportunities of adult life.

At St Aldhelm’s Academy we run our Work Experience during the two weeks prior to the May Half Term Holiday

Placements are defined as experience in which students carry out a range of tasks and duties more or less as would regular employees but with emphasis on the learning aspect of the experience. It is not intended to be training for a student’s chosen career.

Students will work normal business hours this will include potentially working Bank Holidays and some Weekends or evenings depending on the type of business, they could be asked by the employer to visit the placement before starting work.

The school will not find a placement for Students, finding the placement is part of the experience like finding a job, they are invited to find their own quality placement and can access an online help guide to assist with the process via the school website and Careers Southwest. All placements are required to complete a work experience placement form and all placements are checked for their suitability by Careers Southwest.

All parents, Carers and student must sign a 3-way agreement to give consent and this is then signed by the employer.

When this is completed, please could you update school with any new medical information that you believe would be relevant for their work experience

Please note that we cannot authorise any placement that does not hold Employers Liability Insurance, this is the insurance that covers students whilst on work experience. A copy of this certificate is required in order to process a Placement Request.

Students are requested to keep these dates free of commitments.

All placements are required to complete a work experience placement form and all placements are checked for their suitability by Careers Southwest Ltd (CSW).

We ask that you help your son/daughter keep to any deadlines set, failure to adhere to deadlines could result in the placement not being authorised

Doing a work experience placement is a great way to find out whether a certain type of career is for you. It gives you the opportunity to learn new skills, build contacts and experience what it’s like working in a real 9-5 job.

Struggling for ideas? Here are a few great ideas from


You can also read our Career Zones for more info on the different work sectors out there.


  1. Follow your passions

Knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life when you’re 16 is no mean feat and unless you have a particular career in mind, finding good work experience places can be tough.

We all have those friends who know whole-heartedly that they want to be doctors, lawyers, and teachers, but what about the rest of us? What about those of us who just don’t know?

Well, as a starting point, we recommend that you follow your passions. What are you interested in? If you’re a music fan, maybe your perfect work experience placement would be in a music shop? If you’re an animal lover, then why not contact your local farm, zoo or stables for opportunities?

Once you have a general idea of where you’d like to work for your week’s placement, the next step is to go out and find opportunities.

Finding the best work experience places is all about reaching out to employers early.


  1. Know where to find out about work experience opportunities

In the first instance, your best resource for finding work experience ideas is online.

Start your search by looking for companies in your local area that do the kind of work that you’d like to try.

A general Google search should give you enough information to get you started.

The next step we’d recommend is speaking with your school careers advisor. Some careers advisors will have a list of contacts that they can give you, or they’ll be able to point you in the direction of the best places to look.

You should also speak to your friends and family. Tell them that you’re looking for work experience in a particular role and ask them if they know anyone who may be able to help.

We’ve all heard the six degrees of separation theory right?

The theory goes, that everyone is only six contacts away from another person, by way of introduction. This means that if you speak to six people about your work experience idea, at least one of them will be able to hook you up with an opportunity.

Before you do start making enquiries though, make sure that you have a really good CV and cover letter ready to send. For more advice about how to apply for work experience, we suggest you read our post How to Find Work Experience.


  1. Apply to work experience programmes

If you’re struggling to come up with work experience ideas on your own, then you might want to start looking for structured work experience programmes.

A lot of the larger companies in the UK offer structured work experience placements to school students, however, competition can be tough.

Most large companies will ask you to complete an application form rather than just sending your CV, so you need to make sure that you take the time to write a really good job application. Read our list of things to boost your CV.

Most of these placements require you to complete an application form, so make sure you put your best foot forward and double check your application for spelling or grammar issues.


  1. Focus on popular industries for work experience

Another way to come up with work experience ideas is to look at some of the most common industries that school students have worked in previously.

Because these industries are popular with school students, companies are used to receiving work experience requests and therefore should have processes in place for arranging placements.


Here are some of the most popular industries: 


Professional and financial services 

Companies in the professional services industry give advice and support to other businesses, often in the areas of auditing, tax, accounting and management. In layman’s terms, this means they help businesses run smoothly and efficiently. Many of these firms are very large and offer work experience opportunities every year.

The “big four” auditors run work experience schemes for school students as well as for university students and graduates. As a school student, you will spend a week in one of their offices, getting a taste of life in the business and making valuable contacts at the same time.

With a little bit of Googling, you may find smaller professional services companies local to you which also offer work experience placements.

Career Zone: Banking & Finance 



Primary and secondary schools often allow students to do work experience placements in their classrooms. Start by contacting some of the schools in your local area by sending them your CV and tailored cover letter. You may even be able to do your placement in your own school, working in classes with younger students. For more information about teaching work experience, check out the Department for Education’s Get Into Teaching website.

Career Zone: Education & Teaching 


Marketing/Public Relations 

One of the most popular industries for work experience is marketing and public relations (PR). It’s a really varied field that involves using creativity to sell products or services. Start by contacting some local marketing and PR companies, then move on to contacting digital agencies or newspapers.

Career Zone: Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations  



Places like television studios, radio stations, production companies and newspapers often take on work experience students. There are many different roles within the media but bear in mind that competition is high. If you live near to a major media outlet, then you could consider making enquiries about placements with them. Alternatively, you should think local and try contacting radio stations and newspapers for opportunities. If you live in London, then you might want to check out the Work for Sky website.

Career Zone: Publishing and media 



How do you fancy being the next Tom Ford or Victoria Beckham? If you’re looking for work experience in fashion, then why not consider looking for opportunities in retail, merchandising, hair and beauty or photography studios? For more fashion work experience opportunities, check out the Fashion Workie website.

Career Zone: Fashion & Beauty 


Art & Design 

If you’re creative and enjoy working with different artistic mediums, then you could look into doing work experience in an artist’s studio, design agency or art gallery. Art & Design is a wide-ranging field and includes a lot of different job roles that you may not have thought of before. Read our post on arts jobs.

Career Zone: Art & Design 



The finance sector is huge and there are various different jobs within the industry. Places like banks, building societies and accountancy firms regularly take work experience students.

Career Zones: Banking & Finance, Accountancy, Insurance & Pensions