Year 12 Work Experience
SIXTH FORM WORK EXPERIENCE AND WORK PLACEMENT
Work experience is an important part of the Sixth Form experience and is now a compulsory requirement for Post 16 students. There are two elements to work experience which need to be completed during your year in the Sixth Form.
1. Internal School Experience
All students are required to complete a minimum 3 hour fortnightly internal work experience. This will be built into student timetables and students will be allocated a staff member who will regularly check/register the students allocated to their area/department.
Placements are designed to help students develop their skills and experiences for their CV - including leadership skills, organisation skills, working as part of a team, planning and leading activities.
At the end of the year you will be provided with an assessment of your contribution which can be used in your University Personal Statements and job/apprenticeship applications.
Placements range from working ‘face-to-face’ with younger students in lessons in a number of different subjects to working ‘behind the scenes’ on a variety of administration and technical roles.
Students must decide whether they wish to select from the placements outlined below or they are happy to be allocated a placement. If you have an idea/contact for an alternative placement, please discuss with your academic supervisor – any regular placements which take place outside of school are subject to WSCC approval and cannot be based on current part time work/must be non-paid.
2. External Work Experience/Work Shadowing
All students must have completed an external work experience for a minimum of 3 full days during the school year.
The emphasis is on the students to organise the work experience with support from the school. Taking personal responsibility for finding the placement and researching their further education and career path is an important part of the process.
You can organise a placement through a parent/family friend as long as they have full insurance liability – this is known as work shadowing or you can organise a placement with a company that you don’t have links with which is known as a work experience placement.
You can opt to complete your work experience/shadowing during the school holidays – but it must be completed by July .
Planning and Organising your external Work Experience Placement
This summer please begin to plan/organise your work experience – you can do this in discussion with family/friends or design a letter to send out to local companies/organisations where you may be interested in working. e.g. If you are considering a career in education contact your old primary school headteacher and request a placement. If you are interested in Law find your local law firms and send a letter/email/phone them (preferably letter) telling them about you and your work experience request.
Here is an example of a letter below. Please see the following page for further guidance to help you.
I am a student in full time education who will be studying at Thomas Bennett Community College Sixth Form in September. I am writing to you because I have a keen interest in working in an area such as Law/Public Service. I am intending to study courses in Law, Politics, History and English at A Level and would like to develop my CV by having a practical work experience in a firm.
I believe I am hardworking, have good organisation and communication skills and if you were able to provide me with a week’s work experience I would be an asset to your company. The work experience can take place at any point during the year up to July. If you are able to offer me a place and have full insurance liability cover please contact me on ................................ to discuss this further. I attach my current CV and would be happy to provide further details on request.
Thank you for your consideration
SIXTH FORM WORK EXPERIENCE NOTES ON APPROACHING EMPLOYERS
You may find potential employers through friends and family, contacts from school, internet research or through trade organisations. If you are having difficulty finding employers, talk to the Sixth Form Team.
Before you approach an employer find out as much as you can about their work and the people who work for them. Find a contact you can approach – either a specific person in the HR department with responsibility for work experience or someone who has been recommended to you. Emails, letters or phone calls which are not addressed to a specific contact will not usually receive a response. There are a number of ways in which you can approach an employer but in every case you need to ensure you can “sell” yourself to them and get across your passion for and interest in what they do. One of the best ways to do this is to write your CV.
1. YOUR CV
Review and revise your CV and bring it up to date to include the results of the exams you passed in the summer and any work experience you have. Check your spelling and grammar very carefully and ask a parent or teacher to read through the final version to check for any mistakes you may have missed. A CV usually includes the following information:
1. Personal details:
Your name, address, phone number and email. Avoid including extra information, like your date of birth, gender or a photo. Employers are not generally allowed to consider gender, race or age when recruiting, so these facts are irrelevant.
This is a very brief section: just one or two sentences describing your main strengths and background. Remember to keep it relevant to the type of work you want to do, changing it as you apply for different work experience roles. Do not state the obvious âÂÂ everybody will tell you they are “hard working” – better to give examples of your hard work.
Include any work you have done – babysitting, car washing, paper rounds and previous work experience they can all demonstrate talents and skills that you have. Start with your most recent job and work backwards. Include the name of the employer, the job title and key responsibilities. You should talk about what you achieved in the role, rather than just list the job. Make sure you do not overlook any nonâÂÂpaid work, such as volunteering, committees or work experience, as these can also give you valuable skills. Use examples to show how working has developed your knowledge and skills.
List your educational achievements, beginning with your most recent and working backwards. You should include the name of your school and details of your qualifications, including dates and grades. If you have studied something particularly relevant to the job you are applying for, make sure you mention it.
5. Interests and achievements:
This section can really make you stand out from the crowd but do not make the mistake of thinking it is just a list of hobbies. It is another opportunity to sell your skills drawing on what you do in your spare time. Playing music to a high standard shows dedication, travel shows independence, sports can show teamwork. Keep this section fairly short.
How should I present my CV?
Employers can receive tens, or even hundreds, of CVs âÂÂ a clearly presented CV will certainly attract attention. A CV is more than a list of dry facts – you also need to talk about your responsibilities, skills and achievements. It is vital to demonstrate how your experience is relevant to work experience you are applying for.
Use clear, simple language – be concise and back up your claims with examples.
A CV should be no longer than two pages.
Label your sections clearly to guide people through your CV and use bullet points to break up text.
Avoid gimmicks like fancy paper, colour or creative fonts – it will just distract from the message. Ariel typeface in 11 point font size is one of the clearest fonts to use.
How do I write a great covering letter?
Treat it as a formal letter. Put your name and address in the top rightâÂÂhand corner, the employer's name and address on the leftâÂÂhand side, and a date below on the left or right.
Avoid slang and write in a polite and friendly way.
If you address the letter to someone by name sign off “yours sincerely”. If you address the letter “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam” sign off “yours faithfully”.
In the first paragraph, state that you are applying for work experience.
Explain why you are applying to this particular organisation. Say how their work relates to your university or career plans. It might be you have hobbies or previous experience related to the organisation âÂÂ state them (do not rely on the employer reading the last page of your CV).
Say you have enclosed your CV.
Check you have included your contact details on all the documents you send so that someone can call you if they want to contact you. If you give an email address, make sure it is simple and business like – there is no room for jokes or nicknames here.
Check the spelling and grammar very carefully and then ask someone else to check it for you.
If you are applying by email, you can write it in the body of an email or as an attachment; if you are applying by post, send it as a printed letter.
You may prefer to telephone employers in the first instance. You should still prepare your CV and covering letter as these can be used as a “script” when talking on the phone.
2. TELEPHONE TECHNIQUES
Be Prepared: If you are going to telephone a potential employer make sure you have all the information you need with you. A copy of your CV, details of when the work experience will take place and your diary in case they want to meet with you. Find out who you should speak to within the organisation. Find a quiet room where you will not be disturbed to make the call. When you get through to the employer give your name (ie Joe Smith, not just Joe) and tell them a little bit about yourself (sell yourself) before telling them that you are enquiring about the possibility of completing work experience with their organisation. Ask if it is a convenient time for them to talk and if it is not ask when you can call back (take their name and number and make sure you do).
Have a pen and paper and make notes of all the information they give you.
Follow up is essential to securing a placement.
If you write to an employer or make an initial phone call and do not hear from them after a week give them a call. Be polite and friendly and ask if they have received your letter and whether they are able to consider your application for work experience.
If you attend an interview it is worth phoning or sending an email or letter to thank them for their time in meeting you and say how much you would like to work for their organisation.
If employers request further information respond promptly giving all the details they ask for.
Keep on following up in a polite and friendly way until you get a definite answer. Do not just send a letter or make one call and just wait for a response – employers are busy people and they may not see your application as a priority.
AND FINALLY . . .
Remember that when you approach an employer you are representing yourself and Thomas Bennett Community College. The way in which you deal with them may influence whether they take students from the school in future years. They may not always be polite and friendly to you – but do not take it personally, in the current economic climate many employers are under considerable pressure. They may not be able to respond in the way you would like them to. You might want to approach them again at a later date – leave them with a positive impression of you and the school.
Good luck with your search!