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Work Experience

Work experience gives you new skills and helps you to make valuable contacts. It lets you find out what a job or occupation is really like before you commit to working in it. It has always been crucial in helping you get ahead in competitive industries such as broadcasting, advertising, personnel management or journalism.

In the current climate work experience is crucial in giving you the advantage over other applicants, whatever the role.

How can I gain work experience if I don’t have a job?

Weekend or evening job

Delivering newspapers, helping out a friend or family member in their shop or café on a Saturday afternoon, working a few hours at the local corner shop on a Sunday or working at a supermarket during the summer holidays. These all count as work experience and it’s important to make sure you share this information with a potential employer.

Don’t forget if you’re doing a weekend or evening job and are still under sixteen you must inform the local council and obtain a work permit to do so. Without it you are working illegally and are not insured. Click here and here for more information.


Volunteering is simple. It’s about giving your time to do something useful, without getting paid (apart from expenses). In return you get the satisfaction of time and effort well spent. In addition, volunteering can be a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and gain useful experience. It should also be fun!  Think about activities you enjoy and find a charity that is looking for volunteers to help with that!

There are lots of opportunities for young people with the National Citizen Service. You can find out more at your school or visit the government’s National Citizen Service website for more information.
The best place to find out about volunteer opportunities is at your local volunteer centre.
You can also find more information about volunteering from Volunteering England.

Work experience at school

You might have done work experience during Year 10 at school, or you might still have that to come. It is important to share the details of this with your potential employer via your CV.

Creating your own work experience

If you’re over 16 you can organise your work experience yourself. You’ll need to decide on what career areas / jobs you are interested in. Do you just want to gain ideas about what to do eventually or is there a company you would like to work for in the long term?  Do you have family members or friends of the family that can offer you the chance to work with them – maybe during the holidays or after school / college?

If you’re under 16 you will need to speak to someone at your school to help you with this because it is important to make sure it is safe and insured. Click here and here for more information.

Work Experience for Young Job Seekers – Reigate and Banstead Borough Council

If you’re 18 or over and have been out of work for more than 6 months and you live in the borough, you can take part in the Young Workers scheme run by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.

The Young Workers Scheme provides local young people with skills to help them gain future employment. Young people on the scheme are guaranteed at least 25 hours work for 26 weeks, are paid the national minimum wage and expected to do real work providing services for residents of Reigate and Banstead.

To be eligible, young people must:

  • Be 18-24 years old
  • Live in the borough
  • Have been unemployed for more than six months.

The young workers are provided with a range of support, advice, learning & development, and job search skills depending upon individual needs.

Find out more information about the Young Workers Scheme.