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Work Experience

Work Experience 2023

WEX 2023 Information

An employer's perspective of work experience

University of Sussex at The Keep

We were delighted to welcome back our first Year 10 work experience student since the start of the pandemic. Miller Addems from Willingdon school in Eastbourne joined the University of Sussex team for a week finding out about working with archives. Here is an extract from what Miller wrote after his placement. “I have never once been bored at The Keep as new and exciting things happen every day. “I spent my first day cataloguing pictures of the University of Sussex taken in the 60s and got a great tour of the library on campus. “I met some of the people who work at The Keep and was delighted to see how friendly everyone was. My next day was probably the most eventful of the week. I started the day in the conservator’s workshop and could not believe The Keep had a 1680s copy of The Tempest!“ After experiencing the tasks a conservator has to do I returned to my desk and began working on cataloguing political books and pamphlets which I very much enjoyed. “Finally I ended the day sitting in on a meeting where a person was donating hundreds of letters from her German Jewish family members to The Keep!”

A student's perspective of work experience

Miller Addems – work experience- University of Sussex at The Keep

What it was like:

My work experience was amazing. Not only was it a subject I enjoyed, but the people there showed me all the different parts of the job from cleaning the documents to customer service in the library. The employers were a very friendly team and even made the effort to give me work relating to my interests. Even something like cataloguing pamphlets was interesting because they were about my favourite topics and I even learnt about school work whilst I was there. I catalogued some political pamphlets by J.B Priestley which was interesting since we are doing An Inspector Calls in English.

What I did:

My employers had me working on every aspect of being an archivist. On my first day I went to the University of Sussex to collect some documents from the archive there. I was given a tour and learnt about all the legal aspects of being an archivist.

On my second day my employer had received 10 boxes of documents and papers from a professor at the university which needed to be catalogued. They found a graduation yearbook signed by Paul McCartney (it was when he graduated from there). I began cataloguing political pamphlets and books from the Blitz. One was by J.B Priestley.

On Wednesday I shadowed in the reference room (the part of the library where you don’t have to book to see the documents) and learnt how to deal with customers and how the archive system works. I continued cataloguing the pamphlets by Common Wealth (a socialist party) and F.A Ridley (a British communist who worked with Leon Trotsky). My employer then found the professors OBE signed by the Queen.

On Thursday I was given a box of War Time public questionnaires to make notes on. I found them interesting as they gave a good time frame into what people at the time thought. I then continued with my work.

On Friday I brought in a thank you present for my employer and the team and they got me a present as well. I finished up all of my work and said my goodbyes to everyone on the staff team.

 Rosey Blackwell – work experience – Apricot Clothing

For work experience I went to Apricot, a fashion company, in London. The first three days I spent in the head office, which held a large variety of different jobs. During my time there, I spent time with many of those people and gained more knowledge of each type of job.

On Monday, I started off by unpacking a clothes order which had samples of the different garments they make, I hung them up, organised them in size order and labelled them each with “SS22” (Spring Summer 2022). I then went to the storage room, finding each best seller of the week and moving them separately from the other garments.

On Tuesday, I started doing design research, I browsed the catwalk looks for the coming autumn and saved many photos of different patterns of which the print designers could take inspiration from. Later, I helped with the garment techs, they receive samples of the clothes, and they measure and fit them to the models, noting any improvements needed and sending them back to the factory. The notes need to be detailed, including measurements, pictures and diagrams. It was interesting to see how clothes come together and are improved to create the final product.

On Wednesday, I watched the graphic designers create newsletters and edit the most recent photoshoot which was shot in Mexico! They must make the newsletters look appealing to the customers whilst also showing a variety of new products and the photos must look the same and show the true colours of the products despite the difference in lighting. Also, I helped the shape designer research different shapes for dresses and what is more popular with different generations of people. Later, I was taught different tricks on excel to make organising data easier and more practical.

On Thursday, I was in the store in Stratford, I helped with customer service and putting clothes away after they had been tried on and steamed. It was amazing to see the starting products in the office and the final products in store!

On Friday, I was in the store again but this time I was doing a season change over, this included changing out clothes, moving the floorplan around and changing the outfits on the mannequins! 

Sam Bandy - What my work experience was like at East Sussex downs college Music department.-

What I did:

My work experience was incredible. It was extremely refreshing to be in a completely different environment where it is a more relaxed way of learning. I enjoyed learning about all of the different types of mics, leads and all other bits of equipment used in a music course. I had the opportunity to use the mixing/production desks and learn how to operate them.

What I did:

As I mentioned before, I was able to use the mixing/production desks which is an incredible experience. I also helped to move around different bits of equipment such as mics, amps, mic stands and leads as well as instruments such as drum kits, guitars and bass guitar. I was also involved in clearing up and organising the tech room.

What the people were like:

The technicians were kind-hearted and were always looking to give me the best experience I could. All of the technicians had their specialties and always worked well with everyone.

I would highly recommend the Music department at the college for work experience if you enjoy music and enjoy a productive but relaxing environment. The contrast between college and secondary school life is massive but it is very easy to get used to the college experience.

The Importance of Work Experience

A survey by Highfliers called The Graduate Market in 2017, illustrated the importance employers place on work experience as well as good qualifications.

Spending as little as one day with an employer, doing simple tasks or merely work shadowing (watching an experienced employee at work) can be hugely beneficial . Reasons for doing work experience include:

  • developing transferable skills, such as communication and team working

  • understanding how organisations work or bringing a job they have read about to life

  • building confidence in interacting with adults

  • confirming interest in a career or (equally useful!) deciding it is not for them

  • a foot in the door - if they impress the employer they may be asked back on a more formal arrangement, such as an internship, or encouraged to apply when vacancies arise.

  • providing valuable content for a UCAS personal statement to give evidence of an interest in a particular subject/occupation

Below are some recommended websites

Work Experience & Careers Resources

Hey there 👋,

I'll keep this one short and sweet.

All of our upcoming Virtual Work Experience programmes go live in October!

From business and STEM to medicine and psychology we have a wide range of opportunities available for students.

 Click the button below to see all the programmes we have on offer. ⬇️

View all programmes

Student feedback

Due to Covid we had to adjust ways of offering students at Willingdon the chance to take virtual work experience. Here are some of our students' experiences: 


By Matthew Wakefield

Last week I participated in ‘Boundless theatre’s’ virtual work experience, after gaining one of 50 places for students from years 10-12 across the country.

I imagine that this type of experience is a very different experience from normal work experience, as not only was I one of 50 students but everything was done virtually via Google meet.

We started the week by being introduced to the Boundless group. They are a theatre company whose target demographic are 15-25 year olds, but during lockdown they diversified and started a fictional podcast called Radio Elusia. We were informed that in groups of 11 we would be working through the process of making our own podcast over the week. Each day we worked with a different team member (producer, artistic director, social media manager) running through what their work entailed, attending group master classes and being set independent work. We then had hour-long Q&A sessions where we really got to discover what it takes to have a creative career and the intricacies of the theatre world. To be honest I did not think I would enjoy these, as I have my heart set on going into the music industry, but I have learnt so much from these sessions. One of the most valuable lessons they taught us was how to get our voices heard.

As the week progressed our group met regularly to develop our programme. Luckily we all had different interests and areas of expertise, so we very quickly managed to assign roles and get on with creating our podcast. We chose the subject of mental health as we were all passionate about it and felt that it was very relevant to the current pandemic situation. We had writers, producers, directors, vocalists and me writing and recording the music. The finished product will be released in a couple of weeks on some podcast providers.

In the end it was an amazing, insightful experience and I have a lot to think over regarding my future.

Here is the podcast I created with my group during virtual work experience which is available on Spotify. Hope you enjoy.

Listen to the Podcast


By Jake Brown

For my work experience I did four days' work at the London Stock Exchange Group, working and learning with various different departments to understand the various roles inside the business.

I liked the professional environment and learning about all the different departments inside the business. It was also amazing to tag along to some team meetings and even board meetings. It was great to learn some work ethic skills, time management, pressure management and social skills.

Work experience definitely impacted my awareness of work as it allowed me to open my eyes up to a lot of roles I didn know existed and allowed me to have a clearer picture of my career path. 


By Axel Rogers

For my work experience I worked in a restaurant in Uckfield called the Picture House. I spent three days in the kitchen, doing two day services and a Friday night from 5-10pm.

I also spent one day in front of house doing the tables, taking orders etc. Being a waiter was awful, I hated speaking to customers and taking their orders, but working in the kitchen was great, I got to cook food and work in a really fun team and learn more about my passion.

I learnt more about how the industry works and how kitchens work together as a team and get food cooked quickly and efficiently for hungry customers out front. I was far more suited to working there, I didn't have to deal with needy customers and could leave everyone else to do that. 

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