Building Your Employability: work placements

So my cousin begins her first ever job tomorrow, as part of her year 10 compulsory work experience. It’s unpaid, two week long placement organised through her high school. Schools all over the country organise these placements to help kickstart kids careers, ambitions and develop those all important “employability skills”.

It was the same for me when I was her age. I wanted to be a lawyer, on the basis that they earned a lot of money. Thankfully one of my friend’s was related to a local lawyer who regularly took on placement students and we made arrangements to shadow him for the week.

My cousin, however, has no sort of career ambitions. Instead they’ve arranged two week long placements, she’s to work in a doctors reception followed by working with an accountancy firm.

Now, that’s where it gets a bit silly I think. Like they’ve taken the last two placements available, and the most boring at that, and stuck her there. To me that’s a completely mind numbing, ambition destroying method. Though I do know many ambitious potential accountants at university, who aims to be a GP receptionist? In my community that’s a low place to end up, along with being middle aged and still working in a pub- unless you own it of course.

Despite this I do think work placements are an essential part of a person’s development. I have been on several, extremely varied, short term placements including primary schools, at the local newspaper, lawyers’ office and at the local Further Education college developing their website. These, along with my degree, helped expand on my knowledge of what was available or what I could do- and even the placements which put me off my career plans I still consider the most important experiences.


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