You might already have an idea of what you want to do when you leave school or college. However, you might not know which sort of work experience you need to help you get there. Don’t worry though! In this guide we’ll give you an idea of what you should pick to get into these jobs and industries.
To become a police officer in the future, these different types of work experience could be very useful. The world of policing involves meeting the public regularly, so work experience where you can develop your people skills is really important. You will also need to be disciplined and a team player, so a work experience where you can evidence this could be really valuable.
- Volunteering for youth organisations/groups, e.g. Scouts, local sports teams
- Join the Volunteer Police Cadets – for young people aged 13-18
- Experience where you can evidence a leadership role
To become a psychologist, you’ll need to show empathy and the ability to listen and understand others. Getting experience in a medical or social setting will likely be very important depending on the type of psychology route you want to go down. These types of work experience could be extremely useful to have as a psychologist, although you will need to have the relevant degree alongside it.
- Volunteering or working as an assistant in a mental health or social care setting, like a mental health clinic, care home, or community centre
- Shadowing a mental health professional
- Volunteering in a social service, school or prison setting
Although you don’t necessarily need work experience to get into pharmacy – this will come through your university course or an apprenticeship – it could be very useful for your future career and to help you secure a job/training.
- Paid experience in local pharmacies – these can be found in retail shops like Boots
- Volunteer at hospitals – some trusts offer voluntary work experience positions, e.g. Manchester University Foundation Trust
- Local healthcare charities might have voluntary roles for different skills levels or interests
There are lots of different career paths in law, it isn’t just about becoming a lawyer. There are some key skills you need to evidence though in any law career, such as attention to detail and clear communication. Therefore, any of these work experience opportunities would be useful to you in the future.
- Work shadowing – you are limited without a legally recognised qualification in what you can contribute, but learning from professionals shows your interest in the field
- Vacation schemes – these short-term placements (usually between 1 week and 1 month) give you a view into how law firms operate
- Pro bono work – volunteering to give free legal advice to those who can’t afford it
Similarly to pharmacy, any work experience you can get in a medical setting will benefit you in the long-term. If you do a medicine degree at university, you will have plenty of placement experience in your later years. However, having some experience before you start university will increase your chance of being accepted, and will increase your confidence around future patients.
- Healthcare volunteering – this could be in any appropriate medical setting, like a hospital, care home or clinic
- Research – this could be in a laboratory setting, or you could be working as an assistant to a qualified doctor or other medical professional
- Shadow a doctor – some hospitals and trusts offer the chance to shadow a doctor to understand exactly what their day-to-day role involves
- Apprenticeships – did you know that you can now do a Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeship? It offers a new path to becoming a doctor, and you’ll also earn a salary while completing your training!
Having work experience is an extremely useful addition to your application if you are applying to university to study dentistry, or if you are looking to become a dental assistant. Like medicine, any experience which improves your people and communication skills will always be useful as you may be meeting the public regularly. Any clinical work experience could also be a big help when applying.
- Apply to your local practices – it is always worth enquiring with your local dentist to see if they have any work experience opportunities available. Don’t be discouraged if not though, as their confidentiality regulations may not let them
- Shadowing – some dentists may allow you to shadow them for a brief period of time and understand what exactly it is that they do
- Clinical settings – any research that improves your clinical knowledge will always be useful when applying for a role in the future
Economics and Finance
There are a range of different work experience opportunities you can do to help get into economics and finance. Having a head for numbers is a key skill, and if your work experience can help you with this further then all the better!
- Placements with accounting firms – get in touch with local firms to see if they have any short-term placements available, this is very useful if you’re still at school. You can look further afield though, as many firms offer virtual placements now too!
- Apprenticeship programmes – you can now study for a qualification in finance and accounting while also working. You’ll spend 80% of your time working, and the other 20% studying for your qualification
- Internships – if you’re currently studying at university – or plan to in the future – an internship is a very useful way to gain experience, either during the summer or taking a year out at a company
To get into midwifery, any work experience that deals with patients is bound to be useful. If this can be in a medical setting, then great! If not though, there are plenty of other ways you can meet expectant parents and experience life as a midwife.
- Volunteer at hospitals – there are programmes like Premed Projects that let you live with other students and shadow midwives at prominent hospitals
- Placements – some NHS trusts offer work experience placements, these could temporary short-term, or could be on a regular basis depending on the arrangement you have with the hospital or trust
Supported internships – these involve a blend of college study and work placements, they are only available for those over the age of 16 though
There are lots of different jobs you can do in the world of criminology, and various work experience roles on offer too! This can involve researcher roles, probation workers and many more. You can get some great practical experience from a young age too.
- Volunteer with the police – you’ll get experience of what law enforcement is like, and you might be able to get involved with minor tasks and build relationships with the local community
- Work as a researcher – working as a research assistant can help to build your analytical skills, which will be needed to do criminology
Prison placements – some prisons offer placements for students at university for those wanting to gain experience in the criminal justice sector, such as HMI Prisons
You might be wondering what kind of work experience you could get in art. Well, you’d be surprised! There are lots of ways you can gain experience, either creating your own pieces of art or learning more about the art world. Read on to find out more!
- Volunteer at an art gallery – this is a great way to learn about renowned artists and important pieces of art, you’ll also get the chance to meet experts
- Summer programmes – you can do these online or in person, and often last around a week although they can be longer. Art UK also organise their own online placement scheme!
- Online courses – there are lots of online courses available where you can learn about creating digital art, some are free and you can usually get some form of certification upon completion
Having work experience where you can evidence teamwork and leadership skills would be great for a career in sport. You can do work experience in sport from around the age of 14, even being part of a sports team at school or outside school is a great way to show some of these skills.
- Sports coaching – there might be opportunities to coach younger age groups at your school, or as part of extra curricular activities, like a local football or rugby team
- Personal training – this demonstrates your commitment to fitness and also leadership skills, as you’ll be coaching others and motivating them to achieve their goals
- Sports journalism – not all careers in sport need to be actually playing! There are lots of opportunities where you can write about sports. If you’re not sure where to begin, why not start writing your own blog or seeing if you can contribute to a local sports column?
The first career that probably springs to mind is a pilot. You’re not on your own! There are lots of other careers in aviation too, including stewards and stewardesses, engineers and airport staff, as well as many more. They all have a passion for aviation though, and share some common skills that are needed to work in the industry. Here are some useful work experience opportunities to help you!
- Airport programmes – some of the UK’s leading airports offer work experience programmes for aerospace careers and even retail, including Manchester Airport and London City Airport.
- Airline placements – airlines like British Airways offer lots of different programmes for the different careers you can go into in aviation
- RAF placements – the Royal Air Force offer placements for students who are still at secondary school, where you can learn all about aviation and life in the RAF
Animal care is one of the most in demand work experience areas, with lots of people applying. Don’t worry though, there are still lots of opportunities out there! Work experience will usually involve working directly with the animals, lots of them cute and cuddly. Some can be a bit more on the dangerous side if that’s more your thing though.
- Volunteer at animal charities – these can be animal shelters or rescues, and can involve animals that have been neglected or abused. Therefore, you need to be caring and kind to volunteer at these kinds of places. Charities like the Blue Cross offer trainee placements to those looking for more experience
- Zoos/aquariums – BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) can help to organise work placements across the UK, where you can help to look after a wide range of different animals
- Pet sitting/dog walking – it might not be quite as exotic as working with lions or tigers, but our domestic pets still need someone to look after them! Looking after other people’s pets shows you are reliable and caring, and can be a great way to show you’re good with animals
We hope you found this guide useful, and good luck with finding your future work experience!
If you’re looking for help, why not sign up to our live sessions with leading employers during National Work Experience Week, 24th-28th April 2023?