2.2 Building knowledge, experience and contacts
Personal skills, such as those mentioned in the previous activity, are important in all work environments, although some may have more relevance than others. Gaining more sector specific knowledge and experience is another reason why you might want to gain work experience.
Building your knowledge about the world of work in general, a specific sector, or even a particular employer is another good reason to undertake work experience. These are all things that will help you in future job applications. Where are your knowledge gaps and how might you fill them?
If you are currently studying and enjoying your chosen subject(s), you may feel that the next step for you is to apply your theoretical or academic knowledge in a more practical setting. If your course offers a work placement opportunity, this is the ideal way to do that but there are other options open to you.
There may already be links between your educational institution and relevant employers that you could investigate further, such as employers coming in to give talks or run activities, or opportunities for workplace visits. Talk to your teachers or tutors to find out more.
Alternatively, you may just be looking to gain a better understanding of how a workplace operates and what is expected of you etc.
Perhaps you already have a sector in mind and some relevant experience. In that case, the next step might be to get a foot in the door with the right organisation, using your work experience as an opportunity to get your name and face known by an employer you’d love to work for.
Or perhaps you have another reason for looking for work experience? The next section will get you to think specifically about what you want to gain from your work experience.