Virtual work experience opens new doors

Almost every Careers Leader knows the challenges of arranging Work Experience for KS5.

Virtual Work Experience, when planned and structured properly, offers valuable insights and exciting challenges – and can often present more opportunities for networking and collaboration.  

This July, Career Connect hosted Virtual Work Experience for five Year 12 students from Trinity High School in Manchester, with a focus on Marketing and Communications, Business and Finance.

The students had a structured timetable of meetings, research and project work, supported by a site visit.

What does Virtual Work Experience look like?


On day 1, students attended their first virtual meeting with Career Connect’s Education and Business team. Their facilitators Megan and Beth gave them an overview of the organisation and the week’s activities, and there was a discussion about expectations. 

Adviser Paul Williams set the students a project on Career Connect’s new virtual careers tool, ‘Get Connected’ to complete by the end of the week.   

They were also set an individual task based on their own career interests and aspirations, and a group task to research why work experience is important for young people.   

Support throughout

The students had 1-2-1 sessions with their group facilitator twice during the week to check their progress and discuss any additional support required. They also attended daily morning and end-of-day group meetings to feed back on their day.  

Insights from industry experts

The students met with guest speakers throughout the week, chosen to match the career aspirations of the group. Each guest discussed their career journey and current role, and took questions.

Speakers included Jake Ward (Senior Web Developer at Hopeful Studio), Shannon Jezzard (Marketing Executive at Swegon), Kira Cox (Student Opportunities Manager at University of Liverpool), Andrea Young (Head of Marketing and Communications at Career Connect), Colin Bordley (Digital Media Officer at Career Connect) and Evie Chambers (Youth Voice Co-ordinator at Career Connect). Sharing their varied career experiences, the speakers gave insights into roles in, PR, tourism, digital marketing, football marketing, teaching, making social change, market research and community engagement.  

The students asked the speakers questions about the skills and qualifications required, their favourite part of their job, systems and processes, and what advice they would give to their 17-year-old self.

Students fed back that the guest speakers had influenced them in considering career paths and given them a deeper understanding of what routes to take. They also shared that they had gained a new perspective on the variety of job roles within marketing.  

Site visit and workshop

The students were given the opportunity to make the trip from Manchester to Career Connect’s Head Office in Liverpool. They were met at the station and given a tour of the Career Connect office, meeting people from all departments.   

They then enjoyed a workshop on the themes of confidence, potential and resilience. The session was designed to allow the students time to establish their own personal career goals, consider their expectations of work experience, and learn how to use work experience on their CV and in future job interviews.

Project presentations

Throughout the week the students worked on their project – to come up with a marketing campaign for the Get Connected career tool. They chose project leaders and delegated tasks.  

They delivered their final presentation to key members of the Career Connect team – and it was clear that the students had grown in confidence throughout the week.

The presentation involved:

  • Identifying the positives of the Get Connected site, which they said were ease of use, clear and concise information, interactivity, engaging quizzes, lots of appropriate resources, and being informative even for the youngest year group.
  • Analysing the functionality of the site and offering solutions for improvements such as having personalised avatars. They also presented suggestions on layout, changes to parts of the user journey via links, and ideas for extra resources that they felt would benefit young people using the site.  
  • Designing a poster about the Get Connected site and some of its main features and uses.

At the end of the week, students fed back that:

  • They enjoyed the week
  • They were more aware of the differences between an apprenticeship or a degree and which would suit them best.
  • They felt they had developed transferable skills
  • They knew where to look for additional work experience
  • They had developed a good understanding of career planning websites such as prospects, UCAS and the national careers service.

Student comments included:

“I found the talks and tasks very useful, and it has helped me in terms of motivation to achieve my future goals, and also gave me an insight into how it is to work online. So, I want to say a big thank you to you for organizing it and giving me this opportunity.’

Chloe Elliot, Operations Manager at Career Connect, said: “We had a great time hosting the students from Trinity High School. The beauty of virtual work Experience is that companies can be more open to this. Virtual delivery also often gives students more access to people from all levels and different departments of a business, giving a deeper understanding of that industry.

“The project work element of this placement gave students a chance to collaborate and present to senior staff. It very much reflects the way that many industries now operate under hybrid, online working – something which will be a big part of our young people’s lives going forward.”

Interested in Virtual Work Experience for your school?

Career Connect can arrange Virtual Work Experience across different industries.

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