Work Experience

  • Work Experience

Work experience is a valuable way for students to experience a workplace environment and apply their knowledge and skills to real-life situations to increase their employability.

Work experience, which is mandatory for 16 – 18 year olds on full-time courses, allows students to explore their career options in a placement which is relevant to their course or career aspirations.

Businesses also see the benefit of work experience, as placements allow them to meet future employees and gain new ideas from a young person’s perspective.

Furness College currently works with 700 Cumbria-based businesses in a variety of sectors, including BAE Systems, Gilmours, Travis Perkins, Barrow AFC, Carefree Travel, Risedale Estates, Abbey House Hotel, United Utilities and a large number of local nurseries, primary and secondary schools.

As well as making connections with local employers, Furness College works collaboratively with other colleges in the area to provide the best experiences for our students.

As a result, Furness College is the only college in Cumbria to be awarded Fair Train’s Work Experience Gold Quality Standard, which recognises the high quality of our work experience placements and support.

To find out more about work experience at Furness College, contact Tracy Garnett or Alison Gill, Work Placement Co-ordinators, on 01229 844775 or email or

Visit, the UK’s work experience expert, for more useful information.

iWhat is work experience?

To some, ‘work experience’ conjures up images of a two-week placement of photocopying and making tea – but this is no longer the case.

Work placements are now more interesting and relevant to students than ever before. Work experience doesn’t just introduce young people to the world of work; it can excite and inspire them to excel in their chosen career.

Work experience can be:

  • Work on a project – for example, Furness College students have been working on a project to help the Chemistry Department at Lancaster University develop their resources to enhance their portfolio of outreach and community engagement activities for 2018
  • Volunteering with a local organisation, such as radio station CandoFM or charities
  • Running a student enterprise
  • Participation in social action or National Citizenship Scheme
  • A work placement relevant to your chosen career ambitions, such as working in Furness College’s commercial Salon if you’re interested in a career in the Hair and Beauty industry
  • Used to enhance a student’s UCAS applications with careers in Teaching, Medicine, Social Work and Veterinary Practice to name a few
  • Work placement with local businesses across all sectors of employment

The length of placement can be:

  • One or two days per week over a number of weeks
  • One week blocks
  • An extended placement over a number of week blocks

Benefits for students

Work experience has a number of benefits for students. As well as giving valuable workplace experience, it can also lead to part-time work opportunities while you complete your course.

Benefits include:

  • Increased employability skills and the chance to enhance your CV
  • Valuable connections with employers and employees, which could lead to a career or part-time work while you study
  • The opportunity to sample a real-life working in environment in your chosen sector and decide if it’s right for you
  • The chance to relate your learning to a career, and apply the theory, knowledge and skills learned at College

Benefits for employers

Work experience is a valuable way to introduce businesses to potential future employees. Many employers use work experience as a useful ‘try before you buy’ exercise to discover the benefits of employing an apprentice or graduate. Work experience can also provide an opportunity to upskill existing employees by introducing mentoring and management into their day-today roles.

Benefits include:

  • Meeting future employees
  • Gaining fresh ideas and learning from a young person’s perspective
  • Contributing to existing staff development through mentoring and management
  • A ‘try before you buy’ approach. With work experience, businesses can see first-hand the benefits of employing an apprentice or graduate
  • A direct connection with Furness College, the largest provider of education and skills training in Cumbria

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