It’s the time of year when you and your classmates may all be about to set off on work experience. Have you thought about how to make the most of it? A little thought and preparation will help you learn new skills and enjoy your time.

First of all, think about your week ahead. Ask yourself some questions:

  • What do you hope to get out of your work experience placement?
  • What skills would you like to learn?
  • What do you think it will be like to work in the place where you are going?

When you arrive, you will be introduced to your supervisor, or you may be given a workplace buddy to work alongside. Ask them what is your timetable for the week? You should have a range of different activities to give you an idea about the whole business or department rather than just repeating a single task every day.

As you go through the week, you should fill in a daily learning log. You could ask yourself:

  • What did you do today?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What did you learn about your workplace?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What did you learn about how others work?
  • What skills did they need to have to do their job?
  • How would you add what you have achieved to your CV?

Do this daily and you will build up a picture both of what you liked and disliked about that workplace, as well as understanding your strengths and weaknesses.

At the end of the week, you can look back and reflect. Think about:

  • Which sessions did you find most interesting and why?
  • Which sessions did you find least interesting and why?
  • Did you feel that you met the aims you set yourself at the start of your work experience?
  • What task challenged you the most?
  • How was your relationship with your Supervisor/Buddy?
  • Was your time well managed?
  • Did you have enough time for tasks, or too much?
  • Was there anything missed out or something else you would have liked to cover?
  • Would you choose to work at the place you did your work experience?

If you want a handy way to keep all your thoughts together, you can download a free work experience handbook here to help you make the most of work experience.

Work experience is not only for school students, you can complete work experience if you are in college, university and beyond.  It is a great addition to your CV and can help you build skills and confidence.  Talk to teachers, lecturers and even friends about work experience opportunities.

If you want to find out more about working in an optician’s practice, give your local optician a call. Many of them are happy to help.

And you can pass this Employers Guide to Work experience on to help the company offering you work experience

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