Work experience is a fantastic way to explore a field, topic, or even career, before committing to a course. The University of Exeter supports work experience in a variety of ways, which you can find listed below.
Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to provide centrally co-ordinated work experience placements. However, we encourage you to explore our Teachers and Advisers webpage for workshops, presentations and materials that can support you or your students’ interests and goals in a field or topic. Applicants are of course welcome to contact specific members of staff across the University if a particular role interests them, and can use the main University website to do their research before sending in any requests.
Each of the links below will lead you to the relevant webpage, including detailed information on placements and the organisers’ policies thereon.
What is work experience for?
‘Work experience’ is a term that covers any time spent in a professional environment. This could include placements organised through a charity or institution, short-term placements organised directly with an individual or group, or even a regular weekend job.
Making the choice about what type of job you want, or industry you want to work in, can feel overwhelming and uncertain. Work experience allows participants to gain insights into environments, job roles and day to day working life, which in turn can allow participants to make more informed choices about their own future.
Work experience can also be helpful as it allows you to meet different professionals from within a field or industry, who can pass on their own experience, advice and potentially connect a participant with other individuals or opportunities in the field.
Competition is fierce, and a group or individual’s time can be under a lot of pressure from external factors that prevent them from taking on too many additional commitments. However, where they have capacity many employers and industries recognise the importance of work experience, and will have a given policy about how many, and what kind, of placements they support.
Given the demand on placement availability employers will respond well to requests which show that the applicant has done some research into their organisation and the profession that they want to gain experience in. If you can take the time to do this research in advance of contacting people, and ensure you demonstrate this in your letter or email, it will give you the best chance of securing a placement.
Some groups or institutions set up specific schemes to support work experience placements, where candidates have to apply on a competitive basis. These are helpful for both host and applicant, as it means all candidates can apply through a single avenue and not have to rely on pre-existing knowledge or contacts to access the available opportunities.