Thousands of young people are in danger of being trapped in a lifetime of unemployment. However a recent manifestation has been made that not only do you need good grades at the end of university, but future employers want more work experience as well.

One of the great things about gaining work experience as a student is that it gives you the chance to try things out and to see if they suit you. Want to find out what a company is actually like to work for, or what doing a certain job is like? Well work experience gives you the chance to experience this – for a week, a fortnight, a summer or even a year. Over 95% of students undertake work experience in Years 10 or 11.[1]

The decisions you make as a teenager determine your future. Many young people ask themselves the question “What do I want to do when I am older” or “What do I want to do with my life?” well work experience can answer that. Whether your work experience just included making tea but was in a work field you enjoy it can be your next step to a better internship in the future. Additionally if you ended up with a job you didn’t want, you can then decide that you definitely don’t want to do that in the future, so you may choose to work harder at school, to ensure that you get the job you wanted. No matter if you had to just do some basic photocopying, at a pharmacy and didn’t get to actually make vaccinations the fact that you worked in a pharmacy and gained some knowledge of the pharmaceutical career nonetheless would please universities and colleges, and later impress future employers.

Students who make the jump from school to work without work experience “are less competitive for employment when they finish their degrees than their classmates with work experience,” according to Croft. There are expected to be around 350,000 Work Experience places in total from January 2011 until March 2015, with around 100,000 a year for the three years 2012/13 to 2014/15 August[2]. Work experience is an important factor in helping graduates get the job they want. Despite the fact that achieving good grades at the end of school is extremely important, students that have completed forms of work experience are much more attractive to universities and colleges. However, good grades and work experience are not all what you need to get a good form of higher education or employment, employers also look for the following attributes; good work ethic/attitude, ability to be a team player, mature attitude, ambitious and career-minded, and many more. Even so, many of these characteristics and traits can be collected whilst actually being involved in a form of work experience.

Only one in four employers are actually interested in the class of degree, to get a job. Colleges are the first to tell you that you need more than a degree to get hired. After university, graduates with work experience are more wanted than those without; therefore experience in an industry is very beneficial. Don’t be afraid of spending your summers putting in a few hours into volunteering, no matter how dull the job may seem compared to the weekends you will miss, it will be worthwhile when you graduate with job offers.

New graduates who’ve not had any work experience at all during their studies are increasingly unlikely to be offered a good graduate job after university. Gaining skills in different career fields can confirm whether you’re doing the right thing, and can help you decide, if you do not already know, which career is best for you.

Work experience has become more and more crucial in the past years. Graduates without work experience have “little chance” of getting a job. Work experience and a degree go hand-in-hand. You need to ensure that you build up your CV so that you are equipped for the future. 87% of employers think that volunteering can have a generally positive effect on career progression for people aged 16-25. However, nearly 30% felt that volunteering was irrelevant when considering a particular job application. A further 30% felt that volunteering was only relevant if linked directly to the field of work [3]

It fully depends on the employer, some do prefer work experience others aren’t fussed. It’s always useful for the individual to gain as much skill as they can. Hands on experience can teach an individual a wide range of skills or even just seeing the way different things go about in a workplace, however education is also very important measure which can be used to determine a person’s capability. You will never be fully educated, there is always something new to learn, so you should make the most of your work experience and take as many opportunities as you can. If you have work experience without some sort of formal qualification, you can only go so far in the world of work. With work experience it can push your opportunities even further.

BY: Ilerioluwa Akinroyeje