Whilst on work experience

Once you have confirmed your work experience there are lots of things to consider to make the most out of your experience.  It is important to plan your activities with your host organisation. 

Gaining a productive experience 

Here is some advice and guidance to think about before and during your work experience that can support your future career planning: 

  • Skills Development - focus on your skills before going on work experience.  Know your strengths and weaknesses and look for opportunities to develop your weaker skills.

  • Welcome challenges - to get the most out of your work experience, show eagerness to take on extra responsibility, like a new project.

  • Create Connections - take advantage of your new workplace and network with your colleagues to create connections for the future.
  • Increase you knowledge - observe and mirror best practice in colleagues.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Organisations prefer this approach, it shows that you are interested and that you won’t make as many mistakes.  See if you can be involved in any training opportunities whilst on work experience.
  • Career choice - take the time to reflect and evaluate your experiences.  Did you enjoy your work experience? Would you do this longer term?
  • Put the appropriate contact numbers in your phone.
  • Welcome the policies and paperwork they give you – this will give you what you need to understand the organisation that you are working with.
  • Don’t use your phone apart from when you’re on lunch and/or a break.
  • Adhere to the organisation’s internet and social media policy. 
  • Check dress code and dress appropriately.
  • Adhere to your agreed working hours – start time, breaks, finishing time.
  • Address colleagues and customers formally.
  • Body language is important, make eye contact with colleagues to show you are engaged in the topic and interested in what people are saying. 
  • Accept that being on work experience can be tiring. It takes energy to be in a new workplace and you may not have worked a full day in a workplace before. If this is the case, look after yourself and consider keeping some of your first evenings free to recover.
  • Trust your gut – if something doesn’t feel right, tell the right person that you report to - whether that is your line manager if you don’t feel like you can speak to line manger please contact USW Careers.
  • Remember that you are representing USW.

  • If you are supported by a Work Placement Partner or Go Wales adviser it is important to let them know once your placement is confirmed.   
  • Provide feedback about your placement 

Ensure you receive your health and safety induction and familiarise yourself with the companies’ policies and procedures within the first day of your work experience. 

Please review USW Student Health and safety guidance.

Dress for success for your interviews/work experience

It’s not always easy to know what to wear to an interview, or for your work experience, and it does depend on the type of industry that you are looking to enter, but below are some useful guides.  If you get the opportunity, ask at interview or email the organisation contact in advance.  Most organisations are impressed that you have considered this and asked the question.




If you need to buy new clothing for an interview for your work experience, you could consider visiting stores that offer a discount:

  • NUS Discounts
  • If you are struggling to afford to buy a suit, for example, you may be eligible to apply for funding via the Student Money Service
  • The Hardship Fund can offer support to UK students who are experiencing financial difficulties.  EU and International students are usually not eligible to apply and should make an appointment with an adviser.  It is important to recognise that the Fund has been established to act as a safety net and not to fund expensive lifestyle choices.  If you have expenses such as a mobile charges, holidays, gym membership, Sky digital, or non-essential car costs, you will be expected to be able to pay for these yourself.  As a student, it is essential that you live within your means and take steps to increase your income and decrease your expenditure.  Please note that an award from the Fund is not an automatic entitlement.  The Hardship Fund is subject to review and as such, it is not guaranteed to be available every academic year or during the whole of an academic year.
  • Alumni Student Experience Fund

Students on a placement year are subject to reduced tuition fees.  This fee covers the support you will receive before, during and after your placement, the assessment of your placement and your continued access to university support services. 

For further money advice please  speak to Student Money Service.

If you are doing a placement module, please read your module handbook to ensure you address any learning objectives whilst on placement.