Work Experience Week 2016 - our experience of work experience!

As it’s Work Experience Week this week (10th – 14th October), we’re reflecting on our experience of work experience! The Oxfordshire Apprenticeships team hosted our first work experience student in June last year and have since been joined by 6 more students from schools across the county from Faringdon to Eynsham.

We’ve really enjoyed having each student with us and have found it a really valuable experience. We’ve been impressed by how willing they’ve been to get stuck in to a variety of tasks and keen to take responsibility for the projects we’ve given them. We’ve planned each student’s week carefully in advance to make sure that a week spent with us is representative of our work and includes both interesting visits and less exciting meetings! We’ve also made sure that they’ve had the opportunity to work and travel independently, which has helped build their confidence.  

Our students have all been in Year 10 or 11, so we’ve really valued their ideas and suggestions about how to share information about Apprenticeships with their peer group. The students have taken photos, created infographics, produced case studies, written articles for our website, attended careers events and taken over our social media to share their thoughts, ideas and findings – creating some really valuable resources for us.

We have found that spending time with Oxfordshire Apprenticeships has helped our work experience students to find out about Apprenticeships and other options that are available to them after their GCSEs that they may not have considered before, which is an added bonus for us!

Here are some of the comments from our students and links to the articles they wrote about their work experience week if you’d like to read more.

Jason, Y11, Cherwell School: “The week at Oxfordshire Apprenticeships was fun and meaningful to me. I gained a lot of knowledge out of it. I enjoyed how everyone in the office treated me as the new colleague, not a teenager. My abilities to work were not underestimated, so I have confidence to work there. I learned how working feels like and the skill of making tea! Also, I realise that there are lots of other paths for my future other than going to university. Being an Apprentice may be a good path after school life as more and more companies take people with decent work experience rather than people with good academic results. I will not limit my future just to university but to be more open-minded to other opportunities after this week.” Read Jason’s story.

Millie, Y10, Faringdon Community College: “I have really enjoyed doing my work experience here and it has changed my view on Apprenticeships and has showed me the career paths open to me. I would very much like to keep in contact with Oxfordshire Apprenticeships as I am now considering taking an Apprenticeship after A levels.” Read Millie’s story.

Taklima, Y10, Cheney School: “This whole week taught me lots and helped gained a lot of independence. I have now gained confidence to travel to areas which I am not familiar with and I am not afraid to ask any questions of things I am unsure about.” Read Taklima’s story.

Sasha, Y10, Matthew Arnold School: “I did my work experience with Oxfordshire Apprenticeships during National Apprenticeship Week. I had so much fun and met loads of really friendly and welcoming people who taught me a lot about both the world of work and Apprenticeships.” Read Sasha's story.

Dana, Y10, Oxford Academy: “I really enjoyed taking part in many different events and meeting many different people. Within this week, I’ve experienced some very intriguing tasks and also some less exciting ones, but I believe that it is exactly what the team experiences every week as part of the job. Personally, I enjoyed every aspect of my work experience.” Read Dana's story.

The Oxfordshire Apprenticeships team would thoroughly recommend offering work experience placements at your workplace. There is a time commitment in that you need to plan each student’s time to make sure that it’s meaningful and beneficial to them - and you - and also ensure that staff are available to guide and supervise them during their week, but it’s very satisfying to see them learning from being with you and enjoying the experience.

If you’re interested in offering a work experience placement at your organisation, see Oxfordshire Work Experience to find out more.

Visit http://www.fairtrain.org/work-experience-week to find out more about Work Experience Week and join in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #WEW2016.

Pictured is Jerrit, Y10 at St Gregory the Great Catholic School, talking to students at a careers event at Witney Lakes Resort.