20 April 2014

About work experience

What does the term 'work experience' mean?

Because employers are looking to recruit graduates who have some knowledge of the world of work, work-related learning can be gained from a variety of work experience opportunities, which can variously be described as:

  • Sandwich placements: Assessed paid work which is part of a student's course. It is often of one year's duration. 
  • Work-based project: A specific piece of assessed work for a course, undertaken at an employer's premises. 
  • Work placement: A period of work experience, which can be paid or unpaid, and is part of a course of study. This can be arranged through your university with an employer or by yourself and is for an agreed period of time. 
  • Voluntary work: Any type of work undertaken for no payment, usually outside of your course and in your spare time. 
  • Part-time work: Paid or unpaid work undertaken during term-time. 
  • Work shadowing: Where a student observes a member of staff working in an organisation, and so gains an understanding of what a particular job entails.
  • Internships: A phrase that is increasingly used by large companies and refers to a placement within their organisation. 
  • Vacation work: This could be paid part-time or temporary work for students or full time work for graduates looking to enhance their CVs or improve job prospects.

The benefits

Whatever the size or capabilities of your organisation you could reap the benefits from taking students on work experience. Students can offer many qualities to your organisation and can offer fresh new ideas or develop projects that the company just hasn't had time to carry out. Students asking for work experience are looking for the opportunity to develop the skills they need for the world of work. Overall, by offering students a period of work experience, your business will gain new ideas and fresh enthusiasm, as well as a cost-effective flexible solution to your recruitment needs.

How to get the right person

  • Think through what you need the student to do. This will normally be a task requiring specialist knowledge or skills which are not currently present within your organisation. 
  • Be clear about the objectives of the job you want them to do and use them to discuss the job. 
  • Put them through the same selection process as any other prospective employee.

This recruit may become a permanent employee in the future. An investment of your time now will be worth it.

How to Recruit for a Work Placement

Prospects Work Experience Magazine 

Produced in conjunction with the NCWE, Work Experience & Internships magazine puts your message directly in front of students and graduates both on campus and online.

30,000 copies of the magazine are printed each year and distributed through university careers services plus specialist and more general recruitment fairs. To extend the coverage of your message, Work Experience is also distributed as a digital magazine via email and all adverts are featured on Prospects.ac.uk, the UK’s busiest and most widely used graduate careers website.

To find out more about recruiting for your work experience placements with Graduate Prospects please contact the Prospects team at enquiries@prospects.ac.uk or call 0845 077 1966.

The National Work Placement Exhibition

The National Work Placement Exhibition draws top quality talent looking specifically for work placements. Exhibiting saves time, costs and the inconvenience of travelling to universities.

This year’s exhibition will take place on 1 November 2012 at the NEC in Birmingham.

To find out more contact David Wain on 020 8394 5236 or visit the National Work Placement Exhibition's website.

Graduate Talent Pool

Graduate Talent Pool   is designed to help match the skills businesses require with those offered by graduates from 2008, 2009 or 2010.

Register with Graduate Talent Pool and start advertising your internship opportunities directly to graduates for free.  



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