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Work experience

What is work experience?

Work experience lets you find out about the different jobs in the construction and built environment sector. 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. However, when you add hands-on work experience it shows that you can put that knowledge into practice.

What are the benefits of work experience?

Having the right work experience can make a big difference when applying for a job in construction and the built environment sector. 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.

Almost two thirds of employers prefer people with solid work experience when hiring, so this gives you a real advantage when applying for jobs.

Here some of the 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 expenses
  • Many employers like to use work experience as an unofficial interview and you might be hired by the company if they like you.

Find the role to suit you

Over 16? Try our Career Explorer to find out the roles most suited to your interests, skills and qualifications.

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How to find 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 company at a time. This will improve your chances and you might even be able to arrange experience with different companies at different times.

Search and apply for work experience:

  • Search and apply for work experience placements through online job boards like Indeed
  • Search for construction and built environment work experience online and companies that offer placements will be listed
  • If you know which companies you would like to work for then check for work experience on their website, or contact them directly.
  • Once you’ve found somewhere to apply to, you can use Reed’ s cover letter template
  • You can also try the GOV.uk, Contract Scotland and Careers Wales for help on finding work experience.
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