How do I find my child suitable work experience?

Empowering your child to gain valuable work experience is a crucial step towards their professional journey. As a parent, you play a crucial role in guiding them through this process. By following these steps, you can ensure your child is equipped with the tools needed to embark on a successful career path.

Here is a list to get you started on researching suitable work experience for you child:

  • Google is your friend
  • Utilise the internet
  • Labour Market Intelligence
  • Find out what businesses are in your area
  • Find out who is a disability confident employer - Visit the GOV.UK website
  • Know about national awareness days/weeks – Lots happen during these
  • Social Media – follow local businesses, sign up to LinkedIn, YouTube
  • Attend events – Jobs fairs, Open days

Things to think about when looking for an experience of the workplace

  • Make a list of the top 10 placements you would like
  • Imagine the kinds of things you might do on your placement
  • Try to be realistic
  • Remember that you won’t be given a lot of responsibility
  • Ask yourself if the placement is realistic for someone your age
  • Expect to do some repetitive and easy tasks.
  • Start your search

Now you’ve got a list of the type of placements you want, it’s time to find one! Remember that you won’t be the only student looking for a work placement – not in your year group at school or in your local area either.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to finding companies and organisations you can ask for work experience:

Step 1 – If someone in your family works somewhere interesting, you can ask them if they’ll contact their human resources department for you.

Step 2 – Ask neighbours and family friends if their work would consider you for a work placement.

Step 3 – If you already know of an organisation that interests you, do a web search for their contact details.

Step 4 – Find employers in your local area by looking on or Just type in your postcode and the kind of company you’re looking for.

Step 5 – You can also check in a phone book such as Thomson Local or the Yellow Pages.

Step 6 – Read job adverts in the local newspaper to find employers in your area.

Step 7 – Think of companies you pass by when you are on your way to school or out shopping. Many students think of shops and local hairdressers as good placements, so there may be lots of you trying to go to the same place. Try to think of some different companies too.

Step 8 – Be willing to travel to other areas, as long as it’s not too far or expensive to get there. This will give you more choice and open up other opportunities.

Get in touch

Once you have a list of companies, the next step is to contact them.

If the company is small and in the local area you could drop in and speak to them.

Larger companies may require a letter and CV. You will need to ring up the company and ask who organises work experience. Some larger companies put this information on their websites. Once you have the name of the person you should speak to, you will need to phone them to introduce yourself.

Make the call

Lots of young people find it a bit scary to call an employer. Even some adults get nervous phoning companies. The more you do it, the easier it will be – you’ll soon wonder what you were worried about. Here are some tips that might help:

  • Think about what you want to say before you make the call.
  • Write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in front of you.
  • Have a pen and paper ready to take down any names or notes.
  • Take a deep breath and relax before dialling the number.
  • Always be polite and try to speak clearly.
    Start by introducing yourself – give your name, and explain that you’re looking for work experience.
  • Be prepared to say why you are interested in a placement with that employer.
  • Say what interests you about that company or the kind of work they do.
  • Don't be discouraged by employers saying no – it’s nothing personal.
  • Keep trying other employers – don't give up.
  • If you’re really nervous, you could ask a parent or teacher to be with you when you make the first phone call.
  • Practice makes perfect!

Let's look at employability skills, what are they and why do you need them?

The 8 employability skills that employers are looking for;

What key employability skills should my child be developing and how?

These seem to be the most commonly asked for skills:

Explore for more Advice to parents on what key employability skills their child should be developing.

The skills above can be achieved in a number of ways:

  • Part-time work or work experience
  • Sports, drama and any other extracurricular school or college activity (like school STEM clubs)
  • Clubs, societies and voluntary work, including the Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • Online learning (at the moment there is a wide range of free online courses including anything from being a Personal Coach, Marketing to being a Teaching Assistant)

Please remember to take a look at the Skills Builder Homezone page to help your child/young person to develop their employability skills. 

Virtual and In-Person Work Experience with Top Employers (

Work experience opportunities page – The perfect place to start your career journey! Explore the latest placements on offer from 100's of employers across a wide range of industries.

Get my first job

Get My First Job offers you a whole new way to find apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships, work experience and graduate opportunities to get ahead. It's not just a search tool, it'll also connect you with the best employers, colleges, providers and universities to get you on the right track faster.