Your Guide to Work Experience
Are you a high school student considering the perks of doing a work experience program? This is the ultimate guide for high schoolers looking to undertake work experience, covering the what, how and everything in between.
Table of Contents
What is Work Experience?
A work experience program is a structured way for high school students to gain experience in their desired field of work, or to explore whether a particular role could be right for them. Sometimes they can be conducted during the school holidays, while other times students balance their work experience with their full-time school responsibilities.
Why Should I Consider Work Experience?
Work experience students get to enjoy a number of benefits by doing a placement. These include:
How Can I Find Work Experience?
There are a few different ways to gain work experience. Some of these include:
How Should I Contact Someone to Ask About Work Experience?
If your school or training provider isn’t arranging work experience for you, you’ll have to master the art of reaching out to employers on your own!
Here are some tips to make this easier:
Do some research and prepare a pitch
Check out their website and social media channels to gain a strong understanding of the company, and use this information to develop your pitch.
Find the right person to talk to
This will typically be a recruiter or HR professional, or in the case of a small business, the business owner themselves.
Be friendly, respectful and polite
This one’s a no-brainer!
Have a resume and cover letter on hand if the employer would like to know more about you.
What Are My Rights and Responsibilities During My Work Experience Placement?
Once you’ve successfully scored a work experience opportunity, it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities.
Some of the things you need to be on top of include:
The minimum payment and entitlements
While unpaid work experience isn’t unheard of, other sorts of work placements (like traineeships and apprenticeships) should be paying you. For further information, see the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Unpaid Work fact sheet.
The health and safety standards
Australia has strict workplace health and safety legislation which requires employers to maintain a safe working environment for employees and work experience students.
The relevant State and Territory working age laws
Some states and territories have restrictions on the age people can start working at, the type of work they can do, and when they can work. For information specific to you, see the Fair Work Ombudsman’s ‘What age can I start work?’ page.
The appropriate insurance coverage
You should know what insurance, if any, will cover you in case of any injuries incurred or liabilities that may arise. If you are undertaking a vocational placement as part of your study, your educational institution’s insurance may cover you. Otherwise, you may need to seek out your own insurance.
Work experience is an exciting chapter in any young person’s life, helping them identify their career options and enter the job market with plenty of knowledge and skills under their belts. What role would you love to try your hand at?
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