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Careers Guide

Ambassador View: How to get work experience whilst at Sixth Form or college

Hi! I’m Patrick, an Uptree Ambassador currently on a Technology Degree Apprenticeship scheme with a top investment bank in London as well as an Uptree Ambassador.

Even in Sixth Form or college, work experience will aid you in achieving your long-term career goals. I hope that the tips I’ve learnt throughout my various work experiences will be able to help you in achieving your goal.

Patrick Uptree

Patrick leading a panel talk at Uptree's FuturesUP event at Google

Work experience. Upon first hearing of this term during your Sixth Form or college years, it can be quite daunting and you’ll probably start thinking: what actually is it? Where do I start? What does a good experience look like?

Well I guess this blog piece is here to help you with all of that…

Identifying an industry/interests

So where do we begin? During my time in Sixth Form, I personally engaged in myriad work experience programmes that aided me massively in my personal and career development to date. One of the major reasons that I did this was because it really gave me an insight into the wide range of industries available to me aside from the one’s that I was aware of and initially interested in.

For instance with regards to my personal experience with Uptree…

Identifying industry and interests uptree

My first event was one at a top investment bank in London and it was actually a Year 13 event. One of the reasons why I attended was because I had already started thinking about what I wanted to do when I’d finished my studies: an apprenticeship.

This event, in particular, really opened my eyes as to how I would navigate the whole apprenticeship process (as well as how to navigate the city, because I really did get lost!).

This work experience day not only opened my eyes to the world of apprenticeships but also helped me identify the industry I was interested in and consider how I could build a successful career

This is one of many work experience days that I attended with Uptree that essentially provided me with a diverse range of experiences that have shaped me today. These include events at:

  • Magic Circle Law firms

  • Digital Marketing Companies

  • Tech companies and many more!

I personally believe that one of the best ways to identify an industry that you may be interested in is by getting out into the real world and seeing what these places look and feel like, speaking to people who currently work there and understanding their experiences.

This exposure puts you in a great position to eventually understand both what you like and what you are interested in.

Make active steps to achieve your goal 

Following on from the above a massive part of making active steps to achieve these goals is through reaching out and speaking with different people. Whether they’re from an industry that you are interested in or not, speaking to professionals is a great way to get the ball rolling with your career as well as getting work experience.

In Sixth Form or college the best way to facilitate this step is by taking advantage of today’s digital age

LinkedIn is a brilliant tool that I’ve utilised in my career so far and something that I feel will help every student massively in achieving their goal of obtaining work experience. One thing that I think is particularly useful is reaching out to different professionals at potential firms that you would like to do work experience at.

By doing this you can gain an insight into what the day-to-day working world is like and by doing this you put yourself in a much better position to gain work experience as you have a greater understanding of the organisation.

Networking in a digital age

Additionally, digital resources are fundamental in achieving your goal. Platforms like Uptree are great as they provide a centralised place for you to see different work experiences opportunities available to you but it’s also very important to look online just to understand what’s going on within the industry or even at a desired company.

These things really help you to just have an idea of what’s is current and eventually puts you in a great position to obtain work experience but to also speak with professionals and develop relationships.                                                

Trying out new experiences 

As mentioned previously, engaging in a diverse range of experiences will always be beneficial.

New expeirences uptree

Taking myself as on example, during Sixth Form I did work experience at a Magic Circle Law firm. Although I had no particular interest in being a lawyer or working at a law firm at that point, it was still a great experience as I met a range of interesting people. It also enabled me to understand how technology (the career I wanted to pursue) can be applied in law and this knowledge will only ever be of benefit to me.

Hence, this is why I always encourage people to try new things because you’ll never know if you enjoy it until you do it and the additional knowledge that you obtain will only ever out in a great position in the long-term.