Recently, we have been working with the local schools to support senior pupils in identifying and securing work placements.
This has been a really interesting experience, and has been a great chance for us to learn more about the career ambitions of some of our local young people. Speaking to them, it’s clear that while some of them have a very definite idea about their preferred career destination, others are still exploring the options available to them.
Both positions are perfectly okay, and we would even encourage those who have a preferred destination in mind to take this time to explore other options. Undertaking a variety of work placements is a good way to explore the various jobs available which may suit their individual interests and skill set.
Regardless of where they are in figuring out their career goals, they all see the benefits of undertaking a work placement to help them develop transferrable skills; figure out what job may be right for them, or gain some experience that will look good on their CV, College or UCAS application. Work placements are also a great way to become familiar with a professional workplace, which as we know can be very different from the school environment.
While the pupils we have been working with will mainly be using free time in their school timetable, school holidays are also an excellent time to go on a work placement.
Due to the nature of their business, some employers prefer a work placement to be for a full day, or week. This isn’t always possible in term time, when attendance in classes takes priority, so we would encourage young people to think about using their holidays to go on a placement as well.
Compared to attending for a couple of hours a week, a day or week-long placement helps you to better understand the reality of working full-time. This includes getting up and getting yourself to work every day, while you also learn more about the day-to-day structure and tasks of a job or business.
With six weeks of summer holidays stretching ahead of you, why don’t you think about using one or two of those weeks to switch off the TV (or Xbox or Wi-Fi) and do something less boring instead?!
The numerous work placements pupils undertake wouldn’t be possible without the involvement of local employers, and we’re grateful to everyone who takes the time to support young people on these placements. Across Orkney, businesses large and small open their doors to help young people understand more about the world of work. This can be a significant undertaking for employers, especially those who run small businesses.
To support the work placement process, we have lots of advice and information on our website to help employers, parents and young people – just visit our Work Placements section to read more. We also welcome employers to contact us directly if they have any queries about work placements.
We also have some information about how young people can make the best of a work placement, with tips to help them stand out (in a good way!) Click here for details.
For any young people who are starting out on a work placement - good luck and use this opportunity to learn more about the world of work and the type of job that suits YOU best.
I am the Project Manager for Developing the Young Workforce Orkney. Over the years, I have undertaken lots of work experience and as well as helping me to meet key people in different businesses, I developed new skills and knowledge about different jobs. Some placements also helped me realise a particular workplace or job was not the right one for me. All ultimately helped me to find the right job to suit my interests and skills and set me on my career journey.