Helene Keep Work Experience Manager I believe that work experience is a fundamental part of the student learning experience, and gives students the opportunity to put the skills they are learning in the classroom and workshop into practice, alongside developing important employability skills needed for the workplace. Since joining the college four years ago as a work experience co-ordinator, I have seen the number of students engaging with work experience rise significantly, and at least 80% of students now complete some type of work related activity, which is really encouraging.
Key to this has been having dedicated staff on each campus to support work experience organisation and working collaboratively with curriculum colleagues, who have set up some amazing projects through their industry contacts and experience.
As well as continuing to develop work experience and placement opportunities, we are also introducing 50 day placements in some curriculum areas from 2018-19, to support the changes in technical education coming in 2022. This is a positive step forward, as it will allow students to experience working life in full and prepare them for their future careers.
The College supports work experience from Foundation level, right through to Higher Education, and students have benefitted from gaining employment and apprenticeships as a direct result of completing their work experience, just a couple of reasons why work experience is such an important part of the learning experience.
I still remember completing my work experience when I was at school, it was a week working in a primary school in London, and I really enjoyed it. Perhaps it’s no co-incidence that I ended up working in education! Whatever direction your studies and career goals takes you, demonstrating enthusiasm, commitment and reliability will always be important qualities to have, and work experience is the way to show you have what it takes.