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For teachers

Activities: preparation for work experience

Use these three handy teaching activities to help your Key Stage 4 students get the most out of their work experience placement.

1. Research and questions task 

A practical activity is to get your students thinking about the work experience placement they are going on.

 Activity:  Ask each student to find out three key facts about their work experience placement.

They could be found on the company website or searching through the internet. If there isn’t much information about the company, perhaps just general information about location and the type of industry it’s based in.

Next, ask each student to write a short paragraph on their facts about their placement.

Get them to swap the paragraph with a partner, and read each other’s work.
In pairs ask them to think about 3 questions they might like to ask during their work experience so they learn more about the business or company they will be on placement for.

For example, how many staff work here?  What’s the busiest day for the business?  What’s the best thing about working here?


2. Interviews: role-play 

Role-play is a great way to give students practical examples of what to expect while on work experience.  It can also help give student’s confidence and ease their nerves at what they may find a daunting situation. 

Activity: Talk to the class about the importance of making a good impression by tasking them with a mini interview. 

Highlight the importance of body language and how this demonstrates you are keen and confident to start the placement (even though some of them may not be feeling this way.) 

Something as simple as understanding and practising how to greet your employer when you arrive can really help improve student’s confidence. 

Start by splitting the class into groups of three: A, B’s and Cs. 
‘As’ are the employers, ‘Bs’ are the students, and ‘Cs’ are the observers.  

Ask the ‘students’ to enter the classroom and introduce themselves to the ‘employers’.

Make sure you have coached them prior to this, on the importance of: 
  • shaking hands with their employer 
  • maintaining eye contact
  • smiling 

During the interview the students will have to have to answer three questions.

Here are some example questions the employer can ask below, however you may want to create a list of questions with your class:

  • What can you tell me about yourself?
  • Can you list your strengths?
  • What weaknesses do you have?
  • Why should I consider hiring you?
  • Where do you see yourself five years from now?
  • Why do you want to work here?

The C’s will observe the interview, afterwards they will highlight something positive that the student has done, and something they can improve upon in writing.   

The As, Bs and Cs will rotate until each student has had a go at each role.

After the session, you can do a Q&A session to see what the students have learned.

This activity will allow students to gain valuable peer-to-peer feedback, and an understanding of what to expect from an interview.

3. Creating their own rules of behaviour

Get students thinking about how they should conduct themselves on work experience in order to create a good impression.

Activity: Ask students to write down one way they should behave in a professional manner under each of the headings below:
How to…

  • act
  • dress
  • type of questions to ask
  • mobile phone etiquette
  • social media use

Then ask them to work in groups of 3-4 and share their answers with one another. Students may find they have individually created some of the same rules as their group. Similar rules should be collated as one. Each heading can have more than one rule,

Once complete, ask one member of each group to read out their ‘rules’ to the class.

These can be wrote on a board or large pieces of paper, and for each group that has a similar rule a tick is placed beside the word or sentence. 

If some of the answers do not apply to work experience, they can be ruled out.

This peer-to-peer approach allows students to learn from their classmates but also understand that they already have similar ideas of how people act in a professional environment.

This should help them create their own rules of behaviour and understand the expectations required from them.

Students should understand by the end of the activity  that as well as representing the school they are representing themselves in a professional manner.

Your students may also find our print out: work experience diary useful to record their thoughts on their work experience. You may also find our post work experience class activities helpful when reflecting upon what they have learned during this time.