The West Bridgford School

Experiences of the workplace

It is recommended that all Post 16 Students complete an experience of the workplace. This can include: workplace visits, shadowing and/or work experience.  

Why complete a work experience placement? 

Students time in education is a good basis in helping prepare students for their future careers. Education allows students to develop a bag of academic transferrable skills, but these are often subject limited. Experiences of the workplace such as: work visits, work shadowing and work experience placements (and extra-curricular activities) gives students the opportunity to develop their professional skills, so they have the complete package of skills employers are looking for.  

For many students their next step Post 18 – whether it be degree, apprenticeship, college or career will link to their future careers plans. However, to make a fully informed decision information is crucial.  Work experience allows students to experience a career they are thinking of entering so they can increase their knowledge and understanding on the role within their chosen career path, as well as that general subject area.

In the highly competitive jobs market, for many a degree on its own is no longer enough for a strong job application. Many more employers are looking for clear decision making and experience within the sector a student may be applying for. Hence, completing work experience improves the employability of an individual.

Other benefits include:

  • Making contacts/networks – references/mentor/future internship
  • Transferable skills


What type of Placement should students complete? 

  • A suitable placement is essential (Current part time employment does not count)
  • Links to  Post 18 plans
  • Links to a university course being considered 
  • Linked to a career path being considering
  • Links to any transferrable skills a student wishes to develop

Unsure where to start. Take a careers test:

How long should a placement be? 

This should be judged by the student. A placement needs to provide students with a meaningful experience. So taht students are able to:

  • Understand what a career in the industry will entail
  • Day to day life within this career
  • What skills/qualifications will be required
  • Make a judgeemnt about whetehr this career is right for them

Depending of where you complete a placement will depend on how much time you need to fully understand the role you wish to experience

When should a placement be completed? 

There is no set ‘Work Experience’ week. We suggest students should have completed a work experience placement by the end of year 12.  This will then help students to make an informed decision when starting their UCAS/Apprenticeship applications in June.


Courses where experiences of the workplace is essential:

  • Medicine- should include a good range eg GP, hospital, care homes, special schools try to use family/friends connections
  • Teaching- could be after school clubs, holiday clubs, helping out in the classroom                                                                               
  • Vets- will need at least 4 weeks
  • Physiotherapy 
  • Dentistry       
  • Nursing

A portfolio of work experience is often needed for the above courses

How to find a placement

  • Look at the work experience board in Study Room and on BrightSpace
  • Use your network of contacts. This can include friends, family etc. Speak to them about the type of placement you are looking for and see if they can help 
  • Use local business directories to make contact with businesses, such as the Yellow Pages.
  •  Go into businesses
  • Ask your Post 16 team members for help

How can school help? 

Careers Area in the Post-16 Study Room 

In the Study Room there is now a dedicated careers area. Students should look here for information on:

  • Procedures for applying for work experience
  • Opportunities the school is aware of for:
    • Work placements
    • Experience Days 
    • University taster session
    • Apprenticeships

Post 16 staff

Students will organise termly one-to-one meetings with their tutors. Here their tutor can offer them guidance on work experience applications. Equally, the Post 16 team/Mrs K Halliday can offer students support, guidance and make them aware of any opportunities they are aware of.

Personal Development lessons

Within their Personal Development lessons, students will receive guidance on applying for work experience placement. This will include:

  • How to contact an employer via a letter
  • How to contact employers over the phone
  • How to contact employers via email
  • CV guidance
  • Interviewing guidance

How to request time off of school to complete an experience of the workplace

  • You will need to complete an Application of leave for experiences of work form to request the time off from school at least 3 weeks prior to the start of your placement.
  • These are available from the Post-16 Office or my email request to Mrs Halliday -