Ways to get work experience

Look at the different ways to try out a career and see whether it's right for you. 

Opportunities for school and college students

From year 8, you should have the chance to take part in workplace experiences.

You could:

  • shadow someone at work to see what their job is like 
  • visit different workplaces
  • go to work with a parent or guardian 
  • do a 1 or 2 week work placement
  • go into a workplace for one day a week over a period of time

Speak to your school or college careers leader about workplace experience. 

If you're at college, your work placement team may also be able to help.

Courses that offer work experience

All T Levels will include work experience. 

You may be able to do work experience as part of a vocational technical qualification (VTQ) and some degree courses. 

Work experience might be one day a week over a few months or full time for a few weeks. You may have a placement officer or tutor who can help you find work experience during your course.

Work shadowing

Work shadowing provides a chance to watch someone doing a job for a day or a few days. You could do this to find out about a job role. 

If you're in a job, you could use it to explore opportunities for personal development or a promotion. It gives you an idea of what a job involves, rather than hands-on experience.


Internships are paid periods of work experience lasting around 2 to 3 months in the summer. They're usually aimed at undergraduates and recent graduates. There are some opportunities for school leavers. 

You can get information from your university careers service. There may be internship schemes dedicated to students at your university.

Placement year

A placement year is a paid year in the workplace as part of a higher education course. You apply for these in the same way as graduate jobs. University careers services can help you to find opportunities relevant to your course.

Insight events

Insight events are usually organised by companies or careers organisations. You spend a day or a few days finding out about a specific sector such as:

  • finance
  • law
  • IT

Gap year and year abroad experience

Companies and charities may offer gap year and work abroad experiences. You could also set this up for yourself.

Virtual work experience

Companies are starting to develop 'virtual' placements. You work remotely using digital technology, without having to go into the workplace.

You can also learn to deal with situations in the workplace without having to go out on a placement. Accenture's Skills to Succeed Academy and Barclays Lifeskills can help you to develop these skills.

Search online for other online work experience, virtual internships and insight into work opportunities.

More ways to get work experience

You can also gain work experience if you:

  • do some volunteering
  • get a part-time job
  • go to face-to-face or virtual company events and open days
  • help friends or family with a business
  • set up your own small business
  • enter competitions and skill challenges like World Skills

Related content

How work experience can help you

How to find a virtual internship

How to write a CV

How to write a cover letter

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