Getting experience in different workplaces to see whether the job is right for you and to gain experience.

Both work experience and volunteering can be a great opportunities to find out if that dream job is the right job for you. Every school student should get the opportunity to have a work experience placement. You can decide to volunteer at any time.  Usually there is no wage with either, but sometimes you might get your travel or lunch expenses covered.

'You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you’ll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays.  You must then do one of the following until you’re 18: 1) stay in full-time education, for example at a college, 2) start an apprenticeship or traineeship, 3) spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.'    (


What do I get from work experience or volunteering?

Work experience and volunteering are important ways of thinking about what future job you might like to have. 

All students aged between 16 and 19 should be offered the opportunity to undertake high quality and meaningful work experience as part of their post-16 education.  This should be one of the ways a school or educational setting offers careers advice.

Find out about Careers Advice.

You can volunteer anytime you like and with any organisation you would like to.  You don't need to go your school or educational setting to support you in volunteering.  Volunteering is a great way of being a part of your local community, meeting new people and helping others. 

Scope has information on the benefits of volunteering.


How do I find work experience or volunteering?

You can find work experience or volunteering placements by contacting the organisation or workplace you would like to volunteer with.  Your school or family can help you with this.

Whizz Kidz can help you find work placements and work skills days if you are a wheelchair user.


Volunteer Bristol has information on volunteering opportunities in Bristol.


What support can I get on work experience or a volunteering placement?

On work experience you are considered either a worker, volunteer or employee.  As a volunteer you are considered a employee, worker or a service user (some one who uses the service) depending on your arrangement with the organisation you are volunteering for. 

Either way disabled volunteer's rights are protected under the Equalities Act 2010, like any other member of public.  This means an organisation should not discriminate against you based on your disability and should consider how they can make reasonable adjustments to accommodate you in a volunteer placement.

Read Government information on rights of interns (people on work experience).

Read Equality and Human Rights Commission's information on how organisations should treat volunteers.

Read Disability Equality's guide to Good Practice in Supported Volunteering.

Read Government Guidance - Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know? A summary guide for voluntary and community sector service providers.


Who can give me more advice?

Work experience should be a part of careers advice in your school or educational setting.  Ask your setting about how they're providing careers advice.

If you are thinking about volunteering you should first think about the organisation you would like to volunteer with and then talk to them about whether they can support you on a volunteering placement.  If you find an organisation you like you can always call them directly and ask if they could support you, either on a work experience placement or as a volunteer.


This page has information for residents in the City of Bristol.  Find out about what other Local Authorities do.

Last Update 1 December 2016 by Findability Team.

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