How to find work experience in Year 12

Our top work experience tips for 16-18-year-olds

Getting some work experience while in your final year of school can have a lot of benefits.

It can give you an idea of the type of industry you might want to work in, if you’re applying for university it can help bolster your UCAS application and personal statement. It may even offer a foot in the door at a company, leading to an entry level position or an apprenticeship.

Like all school-related work experience, getting in early is paramount. many of your friends and classmates will also be looking for work experience, with a finite number of local opportunities available. If there are other schools nearby, you will also be competing with those students. 

A bit like university applications, you should have your dream opportunity in mind. You should also think about ‘backups’, in case it doesn’t work out. 

Don’t be afraid to use any family connections you may have. There’s no shame in getting your foot in the door or any introduction through someone vouching for your character. 

Failing that, doing the leg work by contacting/ calling/ emailing or visiting local businesses is your best bet. It shows confidence and dedication, both desirable traits. 

If you do get a face-to-face, be polite and enthusiastic. You should do your homework on the company beforehand and explain why you wish to ‘work’ there. 

The same applies if you are approaching online or in writing. Demonstrate your knowledge of the business and explain why you wish to be part of it and learn more about it. 

Do I need work experience before I leave school?

Whether you completed Year 10 school work experience or not, work experience for 16-18-year-olds is quite common. As mentioned, it’s a great way to improve your CV and help you stand out from other candidates in University, jobs, or apprenticeship applications.

At this stage, your work experience is likely to be work shadowing, a placement as part of a BTEC, course or T-Level, volunteering, or an internship.

You may or not be paid, depending on the company and the type and length of the work experience. If this is important to you make sure to check this up-front.