Work Experience

Having the right work experience can make a big difference when applying for any job. It helps you get a feel for jobs you’re interested in, looks good on your CV and gives you a chance to make contacts.

The Education Business Partnership advertises a number of work experience opportunities across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Check their current offer here.

What is Work Experience?

Work experience lets you experience various construction jobs first hand. You could be helping out with office work or shadowing experienced tradespeople like carpenters or plumbers, depending on what you’re interested in.

A quality work experience host will ensure certain things are in place to keep you safe. You can usually expect them to have a risk assessment, provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and give you an induction that includes health and safety.

No matter what kind of construction work experience you do, you’ll be learning skills that employers want. Academic and vocational qualifications like NVQs or SVQs are still important because they show that you have the knowledge for the job, but when you add hands-on work experience it shows that you can put that knowledge into practice.

What are the Benefits?

Almost two thirds of employers prefer people with solid work experience when hiring, so this gives you a real advantage when applying for construction jobs. Here are just a few of the other benefits:

– You fit into teams more quickly

– You have skills that others don’t

– You need less training

– Although work experience is usually unpaid, some companies might give you a small amount for your costs

– Many employers like to use work experience as an unofficial interview and you might be hired by the company if they like you.

Finding Work Experience

Some construction companies will get in touch with schools, colleges and universities about work experience opportunities, but most of the time you’ll have to hunt them down yourself.

It’s a good idea to apply to more than one construction company at a time. This will improve your chances and you might even be able to arrange experience with different companies at different times.

You can also try the website for help on finding work experience.

Tell me more about how the Education Business Partnership can help

The work of Cornwall Education Business Partnership (EBP) supports young people to develop employability and enterprise skills and make realistic but ambitious plans for their future. Employers can have confidence in their future workforce in rising to the skills challenge, creating the best chances of economic prosperity for all.

For over twenty years Cornwall EBP has successfully delivered motivational programmes to broaden the horizons of young people and raise their awareness of employment opportunities. Through the engagement of business and community groups these programmes have developed personal and teambuilding skills; investigated career choices; prepared employability ‘toolkits’; and sampled employment through ‘taster days’ and work experience. These interventions have increased young people’s self-awareness, self-esteem and motivation and raised awareness of the benefits of lifelong learning.

The wide range of activities and events develop enterprise and entrepreneurship skills; provide opportunities for meaningful work experience, and impartial ‘real world’ careers information which is directly linked to local employment opportunities and key growth sectors. For young people these interventions raise achievement and aspiration; support progression and decision making, and develop employability skills to be ‘work ready’.

Our qualified Project Managers have a wide range of experience, knowledge and skill. Their backgrounds range from business, education and training, youth work and careers advice and guidance.

Their Programmes, Activities and Events include:

– Key partner in the Ambitions Project: helping unemployed and economically inactive 15 – 24 year olds to explore their skills and career aspirations through a number of activities enabling them to progress into education, employment or training.

– Management of Work Experience Scheme for Schools

– Erasmus Plus – a hospitality and catering programme in Brittany and work placements in Paris

Nuffield STEM Research Placements – STEM internships for Year 12

– Employability Skill Development Programmes – supporting progression opportunities for young people in schools or sixth form, accredited with Edexcel Work Skills qualification

– Enterprise and Entrepreneur Events – teams working together on a business challenge

– Careers Education Events – ‘Have a Go’ activities, speed networking with employers, interview training, money management etc

Work experience is often the first step of an extremely rewarding career and many directors of large construction businesses first started their journey through the industry through a work experience placement.

Becky Rogers
Business Development Lead for Cornwall and Devon
Kier Construction

“When faced with a medical discharge from the Royal Marines Band Service three years ago, the Royal Marines Charity set me up with a work placement at Kier Construction in corporate responsibility and marketing. Following the work placement, I was offered a employment in the pre-construction team as a Bid Coordinator. I have since studied for a Post Graduate Certificate in Built Environment Studies and am now leading Business Development in Devon and Cornwall.”