Work experience offers students the opportunity to learn first hand about a company, a particular role and most importantly about the world of work. It enables individuals to learn and develop key skills such as communication, teamwork, time management and problem solving which will ultimately help young people kick start their career.

Hear what a local employer, a student and work placement providers have to say below.

St Machar Academy

Linzi Catto, school partnership officer, said: "Creating work experience opportunities for students and school leavers is a win win situation for both a company and young person. For employers, work experience is about giving back to society and helping the future economy by doing their bit to help prepare young people for the world of work. By providing work experience, you not only promote your company but it is a chance to promote a whole industry.

"It is well known that the UK is currently experiencing a massive skills shortage, highlighting how the lack of a young, dynamic image that draws in young people. Employers look to hire those with experience but often are not prepared to offer the experience they look for.

"For our pupils, the experience builds confidence and practical skills needed to succeed in the workplace regardless of whether pupils plan to go to university or not. Our growing network of school partners at St Machar Academy have been amazing and life changing for some of our pupils and we cannot thank them enough."

St Machar Academy student

Alisandra, an S6 pupil at St Machar Academy, said: "For my work experience I was placed within an accounting department at an oil and gas company. I really enjoyed my placement as I was given the opportunity to work in different sections of the department giving me greater exposure to all the different job roles within an accounting department. I was given responsibilities such as creating invoices, updating databases, creating and delivering presentations and other tasks the same as any other employee. This developed a multitude of skills such as communicating with others, working in a team and individually. I would not have the mindset I do now if it wasn’t for the valuable experience I got whilst on placement."

John Clark Motor Group

The John Clark Motor Group welcome the opportunity of connecting with local schools as they recognise the importance of giving pupils the chance to experience the world of work.

Work experience provides an opportunity to engage with young people and demonstrate the diversity of job roles available within the automotive industry. Their current work experience programme has proved to be successful with pupils and has acted as an excellent tool for future recruitment.

Julie Stewart, group HR manager, said: "We would highly recommend other companies get involved and provide work experience."

Aberdeen City Council

Work experience offers pupils the chance to experience the reality of working life over a short period of time, allowing them to gain insight into the world of work and learn first-hand. It is an opportunity to improve social and communication skills, build confidence and develop skills required of specific jobs and sectors.

The Work Experience Unit at Aberdeen City Council seek to source a variety of ways for pupils to gain this experience. This could be though one of the following:

  • Extended placements for pupils in S4-S6 - tied to an SQA Employability Award
  • Bespoke placements - where the placement is tailored to meet the needs of the pupil and the business
  • Week long placements over Christmas and summer

Qualified NEBOSH staff from the Unit can visit businesses to provide support. The benefits to local employers are endless but can include; establishing links with future talent, providing opportunities for staff to act as mentors and access to new ideas and thinking.

For further information please contact Shona Watts, work experience officer at Aberdeen City Council on shonawatts@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Aberdeenshire Council

Work placements are an integral part of a young person’s education and in the last few years, interest in them has been revitalised through Sir Ian Wood’s report on Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce in 2014 and the publication of Education Scotland’s Work Placement Standard in September 2015.

The Work Placement Unit (WPU) at Aberdeenshire Council is dedicated in providing work experience to young people based in Aberdeenshire.

The benefits of work placements to pupils include:

  • Learning more about what is expected from the workplace
  • Identifying the career areas they may want to pursue
  • Being able to discount certain options or career disciplines that they have tried on placements
  • Some young people seeking entry to competitive university courses require a period of work experience in the relevant subject as a pre-requisite of being offered a place

Pupils are always advised to try and source their own placement, either by making a direct approach to a local employer or through family/friends. Alternatively, an online database is available from which pupils can make selections although they are not always guaranteed their preferred choice, particularly in areas such as IT, multimedia, graphic design, veterinary nursing, vehicle mechanics and the traditional trades where placements are always in demand.

Employers can also benefit from taking pupils on work placements for such reasons as:

  • Mentoring a young person can be a valuable experience for a member of staff
  • Young people often bring fresh ideas and approaches which may benefit the business
  • Identifying potential new employees or apprentices
  • Increasing their understanding of the modern learning environment and current educational qualifications

If your business would like to find out more about offering work placements please contact the Work Placement Unit at workplacementunit@aberdeenshire.gov.uk