Work experience and volunteering

Ages 16-18

Get yourself a head start

Work experience and volunteering are a great way to gain experience while you’re still in education. They can also help if you’re looking to break into a specific industry or area of work.

Every application I filled out wanted to know my experience, but I didn’t have any... It seemed like I was stuck. Then I did a two-week work placement and a longer, paid internship within the industry, and that really helped me build up my CV and offer concrete evidence of what I'd done

Ruby, age 19
Finance student, Portsmouth

Why do work experience?

  • If you’re interested in an area of work, industry, or even a specific company, work experience can be a great way to find out more. You can do it for a week or two, so there’s no big commitment
  • Maybe you did work experience at school, but at that point in time you just did whatever came up. Now you’ve got an idea for something else you want to try or explore
  • You’d like to build up your CV to help with applications. You’d also like to gain skills and understanding

Why volunteer?

  • You’ve got a cause that you’re passionate about, or something you want to change in the world. By signing up as a volunteer, you’ll build up experience that shows your commitment to the cause. It’s great for your CV or university application too!
  • You want to build transferable skills and valuable knowledge and experience, all while also doing something helpful
  • You’ve got access to a local organisation or charity you can volunteer with, and you can commit to regular times over a few months or years

What volunteering did for me

English graduate Beth’s volunteering experiences have helped her as much as she’s helped others. Find out what she took from them, and why they’ve been important to her developing her career.

Next steps

  • If you're still at school or college, speak to your careers adviser about work experience
  • If you’re looking for volunteering opportunities, see if there’s a local branch of the charity or organisation you’d like to support
  • You can contact companies directly to arrange work experience. Look at their websites and social media for details

You can also look for opportunities through organisations that support employability for young people: