Work Experience Works!

The vicious circle that many young people find themselves in – lacking experience because they can’t get a job but can’t get a job without experience – still exists. And, while some of our students are already working in a part-time capacity, in the main these part-time roles are not related to their chosen area of study. Clearly, breadth and range of experience is important to meet the needs of employers as well as negotiating and responding to the inevitable changes that we all face.

A quality work experience placement should not mean either party is giving away their time and getting nothing in return! In the case of the student, they are exchanging their time for knowledge, an improved CV, possibly a reference but there are other benefits;

  • The chance to try things out to see if they suit; essential in refining career choices
  • Identifying strengths and areas for development – self-awareness is important
  • Added depth for university and / or job applications
  • Greater understanding of a chosen or favoured career
  • Insight into the way a particular industry / sector operates and the challenges faced
  • A chance to build up useful contacts (for the immediate or longer term future)
  • A chance to see the “real world” relevance of what is being learnt at college
  • Some employers offer attendance at in-company training courses

But what about the benefits to you and your business?

  • It’s cost-effective – in most cases it won’t cost you a thing!
  • Mentoring and supporting a young person could be an effective way to assess the leadership potential of an existing member of your team
  • Cultural impact; a positive message to the wider workforce and the community about the values of the organisation
  • Access to a wider range of emerging talent and helping to up skill a new generation of workers
  • Building a talent pipeline – a placement can be a risk-free, trial period

Planning, providing and setting up a meaningful and mutually beneficial placement can take time. We recognise that it is difficult, particularly for small businesses, to have the time and resources to offer placements – and many will do their best to accommodate the request, even at short notice – but we also recognise that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can provide students with fantastic practical experience.

In a nutshell, we need your help to inform and enrich the education of our students and their developing employability. If you are willing to consider offering a work experience placement, we would be really pleased to talk to you, provide access to guidance and information and – importantly – work in partnership with you.

Please contact The BASE, Bournemouth and Poole College on 01202 205500 or email

Blog Author: Mark Adkins – Employability Skills Coach


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