By Alison Home, on 12 November 2012
Lots of people try to do some volunteering or work experience before they apply to university. This can be a great chance to add to your UCAS form and show that you are serious about your subject. Think about what sort of experience interests you – where would you like to work? What would you like to do? Who would you like to help?
Once you decide that you would like to do some volunteering or work experience, you need to target your plans, based on your future university study and career. It can be daunting trying to find work experience, but there are lots of ways to find opportunities:
- Use your contacts! Ask your teachers, family and friends if they know anybody who has your dream job or who works in a company or organisation where you would like to work. If you meet anybody who works in a similar job or company, ask them how they got started and whether they could give you any help.
- Be creative and flexible – you might not be able to get paid work experience at PriceWaterhouseCooper, but maybe you can do a week’s shadowing at a local accountancy firm.
- Think about the skills you want to gain – maybe you can’t work in a hospital, but being a doctor is about being caring and responsible, so perhaps work experience in a local nursery school would be useful.
- Find your own ways to develop skills that would be useful for your dream university course or job. If you are interested in journalism, start a blog and write articles about your local area – and try sending them to your local paper. If you want to work in medicine, do a first aid course. If you are interested in politics, run for your school council or ask your MP to arrange a free tour of the House of Commons.
- Google is your friend! If you find organisations and companies where you would like to work, research online whether they offer any work experience schemes. If not, write a polite email asking whether you could come in to do some shadowing.
- Try volunteering databases like Do It!, V-Inspired or CSV. Always be careful when following up any online opportunity – show a responsible adult the advert and be sensible about protecting your safety.
This post was written by Charlotte Riley.