School’s out for summer - use your time wisely

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At last, the summer break is here. Lazy days snapping selfies; gaming; chatting with friends online – perhaps a bit of school work the night before you go back. Sounds good doesn’t it (not the school work bit) – but while six weeks of doing nothing might appeal now – you could do more with it that might actually boost your future job chances.

Employers expect new recruits, including those looking for their first jobs, to have some experience of the workplace. Those that don’t are often overlooked in favour of someone who does. You could spend some of the next six weeks volunteering with an employer, for example.

Some schools, but not all, offer work experience. And next year you might take part in a week of activity. But, by showing a bit of initiative and organising your own placement, you’re demonstrating the sort of qualities future employers will look for. Who knows, volunteering today might lead to a paid job in the not too distant future.

Ashreen Seethal, NCS Careers Inspiration Manager at Futures’, works closely with schools to prepare and inspire young people for the world of work. We asked her to share some tips on how you can get yourself that vital experience.

1. Research online and find companies you want to work for
When you’ve chosen some, tell your school who you’re interested in visiting. If your placement will be during school hours, the school will need to do a risk assessment.

2. Contact the employer yourself
Employers love people who can work on their own initiative. Look at their website to find out how to apply for a placement and what rules to follow. Contact them again 1-2 weeks later to ask if they received your request and whether they’ve made a decision yet.

3. Get prepared
Once you’ve got a placement and a start date, make sure you know: how to get there and how long it’ll take, what time you need to arrive and who to ask for. Find out what the dress code is too – this can really differ from one company to another!

4. Follow the rules
It might sound obvious, but when you’re on the employer’s premises, you’re treated as an employee. This means following all their policies and procedures. If you don’t know what they are, just ask.

5. Be inquisitive
You’re there to find out as much as you can about the job and the industry and make a good impression, so ask questions. This might be your future employer or at least someone who could write a reference for your first job.

What next?

If you’re aged 15-19, come along to our What Next Careers and Opportunities Fair on 11th and 12th October. You can meet local employers, apprenticeship training providers, school sixth forms and higher and further education providers to explore opportunities in Nottinghamshire.