Family Information and Services Hub

Gaining Work Experience

Work Experience is where you can work for a short time to understand more about what it is like to have a job.

Work experience is a far more flexible term but normally refers to some form of temporary work placement within a company where you will work on junior-level tasks for the purpose of gaining experience and insight into the industry.  The work can vary hugely, from making the tea to offering administrative support or working on projects.  If you prepare well and are proactive, you may be able to make shape the placement to suit you and gain fantastic insight into an industry or role and a set of valuable contacts for the future.   

Work experience is far more common in smaller firms, charities, media, marketing and PR (where it's the accepted first step on the ladder).  Placements are often a short-term, lasting from several days to several weeks, but work is normally full time. 

Where do I look?

Work experience opportunities are seldom advertised; you will need to create a placement for yourself through well targeted, speculative applications and persistence.

  • Read more about making speculative applications
  • Look at the specific internships page for the sector you are considering for detailed advice, application deadlines and interview information.
  • Make good use of your network to find out if they can suggest possible leads
More types of work experience

Summer jobs

Casual, paid work during the summer holidays.

Part-time jobs

Paid work for up to 15 hours per week during term-time, which can sometimes continue over the holidays.

Work shadowing

A day or more observing a person in their role to gain real insight into the work.


Working with a charity or organisation on a voluntary, unpaid basis. 



Save to shortlist

Page last reviewed: 05/06/2023

Go back to top