Experience of work

woman helping new

How to offer experience of the workplace

There are a number of ways that employers can help people gain experience of work and as a result help them to develop their career, and improve their life chances.

Scroll down this page to get a look at the different ways you can engage with people and develop your workforce.

Work experience

If you are a business and interested in supporting young people who are looking for work, you can offer work experience. Work experience programmes are for young people aged 14 and above. They help them to learn skills, gain confidence and try out different jobs.

The Benefits

By helping young people to gain work experience, your business can reap real benefits, such as:

  • developing the supervisory and management skills of your current workforce
  • enhancing your public profile by supporting your local community
  • accessing a pool of hidden talent – people who offer enthusiasm and a fresh perspective to your business
  • promoting workforce diversity

There is a strong social case too. We know that an extended period of unemployment, if experienced at an early age, can affect future employment prospects and lead to disadvantages, such as ill-health and poverty.

Job centres

You can offer work experience through the Jobcentre Plus. Find out more

Council support

The Education to Employment programme at Bristol City Council links an employer and a paid job to a young person with learning disabilities. To find out more email

Volunteer work

As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers’ wellbeing too. It’s human nature to feel good after helping someone out. 

You can advertise your volunteer vacancies with One Front Door, Ways 2 Work (email, and websites like Voscur and Can do Bristol.

Work trials

A work trial is a short period in work you can offer to a jobseeker on benefits. It’s a way for you both to see if the job is a good fit.
It happens after you’ve interviewed them for a specific role. If they’re not suitable for it, you do not need to offer it to them.
Jobseekers volunteer for a work trial. They keep getting their benefits whilst they’re on it and are not paid a wage.

You must

The work trial must:

  • only be used as a way for you and the potential employee to decide if they’re right for the role
  • be for a job where the jobseeker is the only person you’re considering hiring
  • be for a job which is at least 16 hours a week for at least 13 weeks

You need to agree the length of the work trial with the jobseeker before it starts. It must:

  • end when you’re sure about whether the jobseeker is suitable for the role
  • last no more than 5 days if the job is for less than 6 months
  • last no more than 30 days (and usually around 5 days) for jobs lasting 6 months or more
Job centres

Find out how to offer a work trial through JobCentre Plus here.


Traineeships are an education and training programme with work experience for young people whose preference is to find a job or apprenticeship but who lack the skills, experience and behaviours sought by employers. Unlike an apprenticeship, a traineeship is a programme of learning and skills development. It is not a job.

Find out more

Traineeships are a focused, flexible offer with a direct line of sight to employment. They allow young people to continue in learning with a work-based programme of training designed to help them to develop the skills and experience needed to secure apprenticeships and other sustainable employment. 

Since 2013 traineeships have had a positive impact. They have contributed to social mobility, encouraging participation from under-represented groups.

Find out more

Supported Internships

Supported internships are for young people aged 16 to 24 with an Education, Health and Care plan. Internships can help you learn the skills you need to get a job.