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Work Experience

A friend of mine thinks she would like to be a teacher, but the amount of training involved to get qualified is daunting. And what if it ends up not being the right career choice? It is a huge investment in terms of both time and money. So how can she be sure it is the right thing for her, that she's not just looking at teaching because having school holidays at home would be very convenient?

Try some work experience. It is a standard approach for students in their final years at school and a lot of organisations are very willing to take on a work experience student for a week or more. Ok, so we're a bit older than the average work experience student, but a certain level of maturity can only be advantageous for an organisation, and they're going to be pretty sure you want to be there, not that you're there because the school expects you to be.

So how do you go about organising work experience?

Simply approach an organisation you are interested in and explain the situation to them. If you are lucky, you might know someone already in that industry and have a contact you can go through.

- I am interested in working in (IT, finance, teaching, aromatherapy, personal training etc...) and I wondered if there was any possibility of some work experience. It would be really useful to help me decide whether it is the right path for me before I commit to the training.

Worst case scenario - they say no, and you try again somewhere else.

Schools and pre-schools regularly look for parental involvement, so an extra pair of hands is always useful. You may need to put a brief resume together or put your request in writing, and for some jobs, especially those involving children, the organisation might require a police check. They are usually used to doing these and will know the procedure to follow.

The other thing that may be required is indemnity cover in the case of a work related accident. The HR department of an organisation should know about these requirements and whether they are covered. They may require you to organise and pay for your own indemnity cover prior to starting work experience.

What about the kids?

A full week in an organisation is probably just not practical. Who's going to look after the kids?? Be honest with the organisation and ask for what you want. e.g. I wondered if I could come into your organisation once a week for 6 hours over the next two months.

Make it a big enough commitment. An hour or two might give you an overview of an organisation, but it won't give you the full experience of working there.









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