Is work experience worth it?

04 July 2014 by Matt Trace in General

Is work experience worth it?

We are often approached by marketing and PR students looking for work placements and we do our best to accommodate them where we can.

Work placements are invaluable in providing students with hands on experience and offer a real insight into what its like in the big bad world of business. Although students go through the perils of writing a dissertation and essays week on week, nothing can prepare them for the world of work as well as a short placement in the industry.

During a placement students are able to put their classroom theory into practice as well as developing their inter-personal, teamwork, communication and problem solving Skills. Understandably, many young people still are undecided as to which direction they want to go in the future, work experience provides them with the opportunity to test out the market and see whether they are making the right choice career wise.

From an employers perspective, however, it can be a costly exercise in terms of the time required to properly coach and nurture an individual. There’s no value for either party for a placement student to spend their time making the tea!

But managed properly, the work placement experience should offer a good balance of education for the student and a useful resource for the company. There needs to be a mutual benefit for both. If the student works towards an agreed schedule of activity then both parties know upfront what they will get out of the relationship. This should complement what they are learning in the classroom.

It is difficult to underestimate how valuable industry experience is, although according to a study by ASET, only 29% of UK students undertake a work placement.  

The study also highlights that 69% of students who undertake work experience during their studies, are offered graduate jobs. While 80% of employers who recruit students for work placements offer permanent positions after they have completed their studies.

Undertaking a work placement can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved, so next time you are debating taking on a work placement just do it, but make sure you do your research and find the right company.  


Photo by Olena Sergienko on Unsplash