Work Experience in Oxfordshire

Try out new things, improve your CV, explore the workplace and enjoy the experience of getting a job done well
trainee hairdresser

Work experience involves spending time with a real employer, working alongside employees. It is a great way to experience the roles and responsibilities of real jobs.

Most people get some work experience before they start seeking work.

Work Experience while at school

In Oxfordshire most schools arrange work experience for their Year 10 or Year 12 Students. They will help you find a one or two week placement. Sometimes you may have to seek out a placement yourself. Lots of different employers offer work placements to students.

Experience: I was grateful to be given the chance to find out about the service and be able to develop my IT skills. I also got to learn how to work in the office environment and to be more independent when tasks were set. -Bonnie, 15

Work experience while job-seeking

Work experience isn’t just for when you’re at school. Doing work experience, volunteering, or an internship lets you get more experience for your CV. You can gain work readiness skills such as:

  • Working well with other people
  • Responding well to advice or criticism
  • Managing your time
  • Reliability
  • Confidence
  • Writing, IT or technical skills
  • Commitment and motivation.

You can get work experience through volunteering, Traineeships, ready-for work programmes (ask your JobCentre+ advisor or a worker at a NEET drop-in or Job Club), and through local Training Providers.

Crucial: Doing work experience is useful, but you must also be in learning until you are 18.

Gap Years, Summer Schemes and Internships

Because work experience is so important, there are lots of different choices for young people. Work experience can pay a low wage, just expenses, or be voluntary. Some, like NCS, can be done alongside learning, but others, like a Gap Year, would require a break from learning.

What you decide to do doesn't need to be related to your chosen career, if you have one. When thinking about placements, consider:

  • Why do I want to work in this place/industry/role?
  • What am I going to get out of my placement?

You might feel that you must pass up interesting opportunities because you need to earn money, but any work experience is valuable if you take full advantage of the opportunities.

Experience: Most people have some breaks in employment when they are moving from learning to work, applying for jobs, between short contracts or waiting for agency , but don't worry, you can turn this to your advantage. Although work experience is unpaid, you might get expenses or free training. You always gain something from your work experience, even if it’s realising you never want to work in that industry! Whatever job you take on, record the responsibilities you had and anything you learnt from them to add to your CV - Hattie

Work experience with

Every year, young people from Oxfordshire schools work on as part of our work experience scheme at Oxfordshire County Council . Young people have worked on development, design, user testing, creating content, as well as doing tasks on other projects and in other parts of the team, including Oxfordshire's National Citizen Service, the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, Oxfordshire E-Safety plan and more.

If you would like to do work experience with, then speak to the work experience coordinator at your school. Here's a piece one of our work experience student wrote in 2016:

My name is Liam, I’m 15 years old and I have spent a fantastic week doing work experience for Oxfordshire County Council.


After receiving my placement from my school, I wrote a letter to the team confirming and thanking them for my placement. I received an e-mail within the next three days containing all the information about my placement, including what I would be doing. I was really excited as it was an opportunity to try and learn completely new things. 


I was quite nervous before I started but upon meeting the team I was warmly welcomed. I was first given a quick tour of the building and was pleasantly surprised by it as you can’t really see in from the outside so I didn’t know what to expect. Before starting work, I had to complete some training courses which took about two hours in total. Although this sounds like a long time, the courses were quite interesting as they were full of information I didn’t know before. 


Throughout the week I learnt loads of new skills such as creating and editing posts for the website and how to use lots of programs that are used regularly in the office. I really enjoyed my time here! The working environment is also great. The desks are spacious and the chairs are really comfy! The office is also quite peaceful when compared to school which is really great.


There is a great sense of independence as you can make lots of decisions about your work and choose when you take your breaks. It’s also great to open all the doors using the temporary pass you will be given at the start of each day.


I would recommend applying for work experience no matter what your interests are. It’s great fun and is a fantastic opportunity to learn lots of new skills and perfect older ones. It feels completely different to school and is a great break from the school environment to try something new.

If you would like to do work experience with, then speak to the work experience coordinator at your school.

Find out more


Posted by Marcus Stewert-Williams
Posted ago
How do i find aa conaatct name fro my schools to sign up for the the OXme work expereince

Hi  Marcus, work experience at Oxme is usually arranged through Oxfordshire Work Experience, so if you are at a partner school, your Work Experience coordinator will be able to view available placements at oxme and other organisations in Oxfordshire. If no vacancies are visible, a placement may still be possible, but please be advised that we can only accommodate one placement a month, and that spaces fill up quickly.  For more information, you/your teacher can contact, but please remember to say which school/college you are from and include the details of your work experience coordinator.

Posted by Samuel Cartmell
Posted ago
I am looking for a Work Experience placement. am keen to learn and would be interested in any placement involving office, site, retail work and would like to learn a skill set if possible in Construction. Please could you contact my work experience coordinator?

Hi Samuel, I edited your comment to remove the personal information. We offer a limited number of work experience placements working on the oxme website every year. Bookings for these are arranged via Oxfordshire Work Experience. Speak to your Work Experience Coordinator if you're interested.

We do not organise work experience placements for any other organisations.

Posted by Valli Yanni
Posted ago
Looking for a work experience in the summer for our son who is almost 16, doing his GCSE this year. He is interested in studying engineering for university. Any advice? Thanks.

Hello, normally it would be your school or college organising work experience but a couple of the more interesting opportunities in Oxfordshire are: Rutherford Appleton Laboratory which is located in Didcot, and Science Oxford which also run regular clubs and activities for young people interested in science and engineering.

Hi im inquiring on behalf of my daughter Hannah who wishes to experience Laboratory environment particularly in research. she is studying triple science and feels that a career along this path would incredibly interesting and satisfying. could you please forward some advise on how to secure year 10 work experience for this year within your industry. thank you in anticipation. Vince
Posted by
Posted ago

In reply to by VINCE COULL (not verified)

Hello, normally it would be your school or college organising work experience but a couple of the more interesting opportunities in Oxfordshire are: Rutherford Appleton Laboratory which is located in Didcot, and Science Oxford which also run regular clubs and activities for young people interested in science and engineering.

Posted by Erica Styles
Posted ago
Hello, I'm looking for ideas for a Yr 10 work placement for my son who is interested in sport? Many thanks

Hello, thank you for your comment. I recommend that you contact local Gyms and Leisure Centres directly to see if they offer work experience placements.  

Posted by M Taylor
Posted ago
Could you please advise on the minimum age for students to undertake work experience placements? Also, do OCC have a department that organises work experience placements or a database of employers willing to be involved?

Thank you for your enquiry, M Taylor. Organising Work Experience is the responsibility of the school or college. Schools usually organise work experience in Year 10, though some choose to wait until Year 11. Work experience may also take place during 16+ education. It would be very unusual to do work experience at a younger age, although some kinds of work (for example, acting or modelling) are done at younger ages (see working legally for more details).

Oxfordshire County Council do not have a department with responsibility for organising work experience and we do not hold a database of local employers.

Oxfordshire Work Experience programme is managed by the OxLEP Skills Hub. They maintain a database of employers which they share with schools that participate in this work experience programme. Other schools and colleges manage their work experience programmes independently. They do not place students directly, this is the responsibility of the child's school or college.

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