Virtual Work Experience

By Mariam Hussain

18 March 2021

Professionals, teachers, employers, siblings- just a few examples of those who endorse work experience and urge you to gain some before embarking on your journey into the real world of work and certainly before stepping into a career of intensity, a place which will value your prior experiences.

While we may think that we have many years remaining before we have completed our education and enter a career, these stepping- stones are there to guarantee our success. Some of us may have experienced the world of work back in Year 10, others yet to complete a single day, therefore I am going to tell you exactly why work experience will benefit you and why it is essential to make a mark in your desired industry.

With the current circumstances and the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 now is the best time to gain work experience. You may be thinking ‘how?’. Surely we can’t go into places of work for work experience…can we? This is where technology becomes relevant, the very source which we have luckily grown up around allows us to virtually step into work and reap the exact same rewards as one would if Covid-19 wasn’t around. Various industries including medicine, engineering, law, business, healthcare (to name a few) all provide insight evenings and even days, if not a week of virtual work experience. I was lucky enough last December to experience a two day insight into law.

When I say this was the most invaluable experience I had ever done, I really mean it. At first, I had my apprehensions about doing work experience online. Would I have to put my face on Zoom for 250 others to see? Would I need to have extensive knowledge of law? Would I be extremely uncomfortable doing this? The answer to all these questions is NO. A brief introduction into the legal industry instantly put me at ease; I was ready to absorb all the benefits of this work experience, all from the comfort of my home. With four different areas of law to enrich my knowledge and expose me to the various processes of our legal system, I can definitely say I learnt a lot more about my passions and what I would like to pursue in the future. Working with legal experts from across the country, who had all been in similar positions to me, was reassuring and exciting. I had intensive public speaking coaching; tips on how to make it into the industry; time management; and working under pressure (which is definitely applicable to us now whilst studying our A Levels) as well as fine-tuning my teamwork skills and learning about commercial awareness, which is crucial when working in the law with the ever- changing circumstances (Covid-19 being a prime example).

This work experience added an extra layer of determination in me to put in the effort to one day be at the same level as the Solicitors and Barristers who filled my mind with knowledge. I too hope that one day I will have the same level of expertise and knowledge as those legal experts conducting the sessions.

I had stumbled across this work experience online, however I’m not saying that you have to go out there and actively look for work experience (unless you want to) in fact there is an influx of opportunities coming to you every week with just one click of a button. Every Monday Mrs Turner sends out an email full of exciting opportunities with a range of interests. The Post 16 team are always there to help find an opportunity and expose you to the world of work. Maybe next Monday, take one of those opportunities, and who knows, maybe you’ll discover something completely new, or develop an existing interest!

Imagine yourself in five years. You and Candidate X are going up against each other for ONE job opportunity. You have EXACTLY the same qualifications and it’s a tight race. However, you might just gain the slight advantage with the relevant work experience you did virtually in Covid-19. The employer sees your interests and understands your ambition. They see YOU have taken initiative to actively engage in their industry. “You’re hired!” All down to the one day’s work experience you completed at a young age. Think about this the next time you see an amazing opportunity. Don’t let it pass you by or you may just be allowing your future to slip away from you…