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Work experience

This section brings together materials that relate to work experience in compulsory and post compulsory education settings. 'Work Experience' here refers to short periods of non salaried experience in the workplace with an emphasis on learning. The new 14 - 19 Diploma, to be introduced from September 2008, will include a minimum of ten days’ work experience at each level, with a proposal that there should be clear routes between the specialised Diplomas and Apprenticeships.

What might learners expect from their work experience? It might be useful to examine previous research into the work experience for 16-19 year olds that was conducted in six countries. It examined the purpose and assumptions about learning, and the practice and outcomes of work experience in the light of changes in the European labour market and trends in workplace requirements and organisation. The project analysed how students learn and develop through work experience. The project addressed the concept of 'context' as the starting point for considering learning through work experience, arguing that any analysis of work experience should take account of, first, different types of context (e.g. education and work – whether knowledge 'rich' or 'poor'), different strategies within contexts and the influence of context on the process of learning; second, the extent to which students have to learn how to 'negotiate' their learning during work experience; and, third, the extent to which students must be supported to relate formal and informal learning, given that knowledge is unevenly distributed in workplaces. On the basis of this analysis, a typology of five models of work experience has been developed which embodies changing responses to policy, to the learner, to skills needed and to pedagogy and reflects the influence of different economic, technological and social factors prevailing within European countries as well as new ideas about learning and development. For more details, see: Work Experience as an education and training strategy: new approaches for the 21st Century and a linked paper by Griffiths and Guile Learning and work experience: European perspectives on policy, theory and practice.

Resources on work experience

National Council for Work Experience
This links to The National Council for Work Experience website, which aims to: promote, support and develop quality work experience for the benefits of students, organisations and the economy. The website includes placement vacancy information, external links and FAQs

Gap Year Jobs
This site provides information about temporary and seasonal employment vacancies in the UK and overseas. It includes links to other related casual employment sites.

Support 4 Learning
Includes sections covering gap years, volunteering, internships and international exchanges. This website includes a range of contact organisations of interest to those considering undertaking work experience or placements

Adventure Jobs
A job site for adventure, watersports and travel industries, it includes access to seasonal ski resort vacancies and similar opportunities.

This links to a website that is aimed at students seeking one year placements as part of a university course. It is possible to access information by both geographical region and occupational sector

A website dealing with industrial placements and graduate careers it promotes employers who offer industrial placement schemes to UK university students.

Year in Industry
This site provides support, and details on opportunities to pre university students 'with good A-levels' or undergraduates seeking one year placements in industry.

Global Vision International
An organisation that is involved in Conservation Expeditions, Volunteer Work, Training Courses and National Park Internships around the World including projects such as Marine Conservation and Wildlife Research expeditions in Mexico, Ecuador and Costa Rica or volunteer conservation and community work in over 20 countries worldwide throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia. These opportunities are mainly voluntary and some will require a significant contribution to costs in order to participate.

Talent Ladder
Talentladder aims to match students with employers seeking to offer paid work experience during vacations, free time and placement periods.

Shell Technology Enterprise Programme (STEP)
A UK side programme offering undergraduates project based work experience in small to medium sized businesses.

Everything you wanted to know
Sponsorship, placements and graduate opportunities.

Global Volunteer Network
The Global Volunteer Network offers volunteer opportunities in community projects throughout the world. We currently provide volunteer programs through our partner organizations in Alaska, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Honduras, India, Kenya, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam. The network continues to expand with new programs currently being researched and assessed.