Careers adviser Andy Primmett reflects on what our cohort of Year 11s have learned, having taken part in work experience. The whole year group had placements in various industries including retail, catering, care homes, engineering, business and general construction trades. Most of the placements were sourced through the Connexions work experience database, but many students found their own according to where their career ambitions lie.
Mr Primmett said: ‘Work experience pushes their boundaries and is a challenge because it takes students into unknown territory in most cases. It is a new ‘personal development’ experience, an experience of the world of work and it takes them out of their comfort zone into a completely new environment with new people and different tasks.
‘A key advantage is that it helps students to appreciate the value of the key transferable and employability skills that are now essential to get almost any job. These include communication skills; listening, speaking and writing and being able to convey information clearly and concisely. Other skills are team-working, flexibility and using initiative to solve problems. Students also need commercial awareness - finding out how any organisation, from a very small shop to a huge multi-national company, works because, whatever the size, the principles are the same. It is also vital to understand and satisfy the needs of the customer.
There is huge value in work experience for the students and it is very unusual for a whole year group to have work experience as the process is expensive and there is no longer any government requirement to do so. Brooke Weston is investing in its students by supporting their work experience placements, both financially and in terms of staff support and follow-up mentoring.’