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WorkXperience - Types of Work Placement

Types of Work Experience
Sourcing Work Placements
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WorkXperience - Types of Work Placement

There are two common types of work placement offered in schools, Work Experience and Work Shadowing.

Work Experience
This is the most common option and involves your son or daughter participating in the daily work of their chosen area. This is a hands-on placement, and students are expected to do some work, learn some skills, and contribute in some way.


  • Offers insight into the daily tasks and responsibilities of an active work environment
  • Helps to develop and improve their personal, interpersonal and organisational skills
  • Offers the opportunity to interact with new people in an adult way, and often requires dealing with customers or the public from the standpoint of a professional for the first time
  • Provides experience of the typical working hours, levels of pressure and responsibilities of the position
  • Students can make contacts for future work, gain experience for use in their CV, and aquire referees
  • The experience of the ‘real’ world can help motivate students to be more responsible and ambitious on returning to school

Work Shadowing
Shadowing involves closely observing someone at work doing a particular role rather than taking on the working role itself. It can give excellent insight into what a particular job involves and the skills it requires. It is, however, unlikely that your son or daughter will develop their own skills, or have the opportunity to make any contacts which might benefit them when looking for future work. Typically, work shadowing is shorter than a work experience, generally lasting a single day.


  • Offers opportunities to experience positions that would not normally be available to do work experience in, e.g. Law, Social Work.
  • May offer the opportunity to experience a number of careers as the placements are shorter.
  • There is normally time allocated to allow questions and discuss observations with staff, and so it provides an opportunity to develop interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Excellent opportunity to develop and grow listening and observation skills, and at the same time pick up a good sense of what the work is like.
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