Today marks the end of my summer work placement. Over the past six weeks I have worked on a number of tasks, testing my knowledge from university and helping me to think logically and creatively. Yes, this was a paid placement, however it is the value that the work has added to my skill set and knowledge that I believe to be most important.

I have a personal rule that I will never work just for money. I will only work if I believe the work will add value to me in some way. So far I have followed this rule and had plenty of work opportunities.

First, I must clarify, this is a personal rule. I don’t believe this is a ‘must follow’ rule for everybody. Whilst it is ideal, sometimes money is extremely important, or if you’ve spent the last few months completing unpaid work, a bit of work to earn some cash is probably a good idea.


work experience


These memes are everywhere at the moment. With unemployment increasing, companies are quite rightly being picky with the standard of people they recruit. With a bigger pool of candidates, they can set the bar higher in terms of experience and knowledge.

That’s great for an employer, but awful for young, unexperienced candidates. So how can this be solved? Simple – GET EXPERIENCE!

But when you’re at school, you want to make the most of holidays and you don’t want to work evenings. Well here is the BIG bonus for work experience and placements over normal work – They are usually shorter!

1-2 weeks work experience, 6 week summer placement. The times are set and you can plan around. There’s no waiting for your rota to come out before you can make plans.

What else is so great about work experience and placements? For me, they have been a great way to discover what I like and don’t like. I am exposing myself to possible areas to aim for and that allows me to decide if that area is for me.

Getting Experience

This is the hard part, right? Well, yes. But not as hard as people make it out to be.

Getting experience depends on two things:

  1. Actively looking
  2. Being willing to work for less or even no money

Experience doesn’t find you. You need to find it.

The main places to find experience are:

  • From family and friends
  • Formal placement schemes – usually advertised online (do the necessary research!)
  • School or university

The third was the most surprising for me. It came around as an accident that my college careers team learnt that I was looking for a summer placement. Once they knew, they found one for me. This placement is where I have returned to this summer!

Lots of work experience is unpaid. Sometimes you can be lucky and be offered payment, however don’t expect too much. This summer I have been paid less than most of my friends, however money hasn’t been my priority, for me it has been about finding the right work that will test and improve my knowledge.