Work experience for school students – the options

Learn about work experience for school students and the opportunities available to young people in the UK.

Work experience provides a first taste of the working world, and helps to shape a young person’s ambitions, motivations and expectations. Every young person should have the opportunity to learn about and experience the world of work from year 8 onwards.

Young people from year 10 onwards have the opportunity to take part in a work experience placement, either in term time or during the school holidays.

Work experience may include:

• Visiting different workplaces on group trips
• Going to work with a parent or guardian
• Shadowing someone within a workplace
• A work placement over a couple of weeks
• A work placement one or two days per week

These placements don’t provide income, but the purpose is to give a taste of employment. Work experience helps young people to understand more about the industries and careers they may want to explore, and allows them to begin developing useful skills.

Work experience for school students – what are the options?

School and college work experience

Schools and colleges may provide young people with the chance to do a few weeks of work experience during their education. This can be arranged by the school’s careers provision, or by the young person or their parent or guardian on their behalf.

The school or college may provide the opportunity to visit potential employers on school trips to give students a glimpse of different working environments.

Arranging your own work experience

Many young people and their parents or guardians arrange their own work placements, during term time, holidays or weekends. This may be within a business known to the young person, or it may come from directly approaching businesses or applying online.

What you need to apply for work experience:

• CV with qualifications, skills, experience and interests
• Covering letter showing your interest in the business
• Permission from school (if during term time)
• Permission from parent or guardian

Work experience for school students during term time

Most students complete one or two weeks of work experience during term time and spend the rest of their time on studies. But there is an opportunity for some students to complete a more structured work placement alongside their weekly studies.

What is the Nexus In-School work placement scheme?

The Nexus In-School project is based in Kirklees and Calderdale and caters for Year 10 and 11 students.

It is designed for students who would benefit from a more practical element to their current curriculum studies. Students attend a work placement two days a week, whilst studying a curriculum of core GCSEs in school.

It is delivered through a combination of 1-1 mentoring and group-based learning aimed at preparing young people for a work placement and their eventual transition to an apprenticeship, college course or other training programme.

Who could benefit from Nexus In-School work placement?

Students considered for the placement must have school attendance above 60%. Here are some of the factors that may make them a suitable candidate:

• They excel in practical subjects
• They are motivated to work rather than study
• They may benefit from taking a reduced number of GCSE’s
• They have previous successful work experience or a weekend job
• They may have difficult relationships with peers, or have experienced bullying or social exclusion and would like to make new positive relationships
• They may be at risk of becoming disaffected or disengaged and want to change this

A work placement can be the right option for these students as it motivates them to continue working towards their qualifications, while entering the world of work at the same time. The programme moves at the right pace for each young person, providing a tailored pathway to support them to successfully complete KS4 and transition onto their next steps.

What does the work experience placement include?

The Nexus In-School programme has been designed and is managed by C+K, and it follows a clear structure to make sure every young person gets the support they need. The scheme includes:

 A dedicated project officer
 1 to 1 mentoring throughout the year
 An appropriate work placement (once the young person is work ready)
 Placement health and safety risk assessment
 Employer liaison and fortnightly placement visits
 Employability and personal development learning programme
 Personalised learning plan and journal
 Daily attendance updates to schools and parents/carers
 Specialist support with post-16 transitions
 Regular progress reviews

2021-22 Nexus In-School Year 11 results

1. 100% of young people progressed to employment, education or training.
2. 100% of these young people had sustained employment, education or training after 6 months.
3. 15.4% of these young people had secured an apprenticeship.

T comes home from his days working with excitement, telling me all what he has done and learnt that day. T has the best of both worlds; he is at school Monday to Wednesday, then working Thursday and Friday." Feedback from a parent.

We hope we have shared some useful information on the work experience for school students and the options available. No one young person is the same, and each journey is different. By providing chances to experience the world of work at the opportune moments, it’s possible to shape the motivations of a young person, setting them in a positive direction.

Would you like more information on work experience for school students, or the Nexus In-School programme? Please call C+K on 01484 242000 or email

If you are a student interested in any type of work experience opportunity, please contact your school careers team or careers adviser. Talking to a careers adviser provides the chance for you to discuss your skills, interests, career ideas and any worries you might have. It’s the role of your careers adviser to find a placement that meets your needs.


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