What types of work experience can you get?

There are lots of different types of work experience. Whether you are still in school, college or even university. Some opportunities might be partly organised by your school, where you are given a week away to get some real work experience. Other opportunities you might have to search for a bit more – we’re here to run you through all the options out there.

Work placements

Work placements are often organised by schools as part of your time in education, and often last for around one week. It can help if you know somebody who can offer your work experience with the organisation they work for. Friends or family is a great place to start. If not though, don’t worry! You could get in touch with local organisations to see if they are accepting placements, or even if you could do a remote placement.

Work placements can be done after you leave school as well if you’re looking to gain more experience in a particular industry, with a specific company, or doing a specific role. Placements can also be short-term or long-term depending on the company and length of placement you’re interested in doing.

Volunteering roles

Volunteering is a great way to build experience on your CV and give you some exposure to work. The great thing about volunteering is that you get to help other people while also gaining great experience. 

Unlike paid jobs, you don’t have to wait until you turn sixteen to volunteer either for lots of volunteering roles. That means you can make a head start if you’re not sixteen yet. You can volunteer in places like charity shops to get general retail and customer service/people skills. However, you could also look to get work experience in particular fields, like working with animals.

Some volunteering positions are very popular though, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time by applying early.

T Levels

T Levels were launched by the UK government in 2020, and involve you studying at college whilst also getting on the job experience through a work placement. They’re normally completed after you’ve done your GCSEs and are generally worth the same as three A Levels. They’re a great alternative to A Levels if you’re looking to get some practical experience while also studying – there are more T Level courses being offered every year too! 

Quick note! T Levels are normally only available for 16 to 19-year-olds.


If you complete an apprenticeship, you’ll be working and learning at the same time. You’ll earn a qualification at the end of your programme, and also be earning a salary. There are also degree apprenticeships available now, where you can study for your degree while working and earning a salary. These are becoming increasingly popular ways to get an academic qualification without the student debt. 

You can do an apprenticeship in a range of different sectors these days, they’re not just for trades industries. For instance, you can do an apprenticeship in office-based roles like marketing, administration and IT roles like software development. You can also do them in hospitality roles with some of the UK’s biggest employers!

You can apply for an apprenticeship from the age of sixteen.

Part-time jobs

A part-time job is a fantastic way to build your CV. You will normally do a part-time job while studying, either at school, college or university. Apart from the skills you will gain from the job, it shows evidence of time management skills as you are juggling full-time study with a job. It also shows a level of responsibility from an early age, which is highly valued by employers. 

Many employers will also understand if you are a student, and offer flexible working hours to suit. For instance, you could work weekend, evening or afternoon shifts if you are studying at the time. Furthermore, having a part-time job shows you have the initiative to put yourself out there and look for opportunities!

Summer jobs

This is similar to a part-time job, but you are usually on a fixed-term contract that ends on a certain date. These are often specifically for students during the summer holidays while off school or university.

These types of opportunities are available in lots of different industries, but hospitality roles are particularly popular, as businesses need staff at these busier times of year.

If you can, getting some form of work experience is a valuable addition to your CV, and will help you to stand out from other candidates in the future!