In previous years The Leigh Academy has supported and organised a week long work experience programme for all Year 10 students. This has been completed during the last full week of the academic year in July. Students have been encouraged to seek and secure a placement which imitates the process of gaining employment in the real world. Students are assisted by a dedicated careers team to aid them in this process. More information can be found here.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have meant that work experience in 2020 was cancelled for our Year 10 cohort. We are likely to be in a similar position again in 2021, but we are still working towards providing valuable virtual work experience which will increase our students’ prospects for future employment and successful careers.
A host of companies are now offering virtual work experience which means completing a full placement from home via the means of a PC/laptop. Students will learn just as much as during an in-person experience by journeying through different departments, exploring job roles, learning new skills, networking, solving problems and completing real-life tasks.
Why should my son/daughter take part in virtual work experience?
The advantages of applying for and completing a virtual work experience placement are vital in our students’ understanding of employment and what it means to work. If your daughter/son is unsure of their career path, the virtual experience will help them explore potential careers and as a result make informed career decisions.
Completing a placement will also aid in enhancing their employability skills and therefore increase their chances of future employment.
What if there are no virtual work experience opportunities for my son/daughter in the industry of interest?
Virtual work experiences opportunities are posted weekly, however, we do not have control over the industries that offer these experiences. We fully understand the majority of students may have some idea of their future profession and it is frustrating that there are currently none or limited virtual work experience opportunities specific to their particular industry of interest. As a result of this, we advise all our students to seek an opportunity that is closest to that industry.
For example; if your child is interested in becoming a Veterinarian and there are no specific virtual work experience opportunities available. The NHS are currently offering an opportunity which would provide further knowledge in the medical sector, enhance the soft, transferable skills such as problem solving, leadership and communication as well as compassion and interpersonal expertise.
Another example; your child may be interested in becoming a Collision Investigator with the Police. Understanding the design and construction of motorways and learning how to interpret motorway CCTV are all relevant in gaining experience and skills towards this profession. We are currently promoting a virtual work experience programme with BAM Construction and The Morgan Sindall Group designed around their construction of the Smart Motorways.
Where can my son/daughter find virtual work experience?
The careers team at The Leigh Academy have been providing a Weekly Careers Bulletin since November 2020 to assist current year 10 students who would be participating in work experience this year and year 11 students who missed out last year. Every Friday the Weekly Careers Bulletin is posted on their Google Classrooms for all students to access in their own time.
The bulletin includes the following sections which are updated weekly-
- VWEX (virtual work experience)
New virtual work experience opportunities are displayed individually per slide with a quick access link. Deadlines are noted but most opportunities close early due to being oversubscribed so we urge students to apply as soon as they are interested.
- Workshops, Webinars & Videos
Each week free online courses are posted which can be completed at the student’s own pace. Career-related webinars and interesting videos can be accessed which are usually themed for that week.
- Learn About the Industry
These too are themed weekly, and there are a variety of articles, interviews and further reading on different careers. We also touch on subjects around challenging stereotypes and the fourth industrial revolution and relate them back to potential career pathways.
- Further & Higher Education
This section promotes virtual college and university fairs, apprenticeship talks and includes links to information on scholarships and bursaries as well as student and parent webinars
Links to vetted and useful websites to assist in our students career paths.
We understand not all virtual work experience opportunities are favourable but new companies are added weekly and because of this we expect all students to access the careers bulletin. We can not stress enough that by completing one opportunity, whether it be in the industry of interest to your child or the most similar, the skills gained will enhance their future prospects.
Going forward, we will also send the Weekly Careers Bulletin directly to you so that you can see the range of opportunities available.
Mr Williams Mrs Mace-Baker
Careers Lead Work Experience Coordinator