Every pupil should have first-hand experiences* of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and expand their networks. 

By the age of 16, every pupil should have had at least one experience of a workplace, additional to any part-time jobs they may have. 

By the age of 18, every pupil should have had one further such experience, additional to any part-time jobs they may have. 

* As far as is possible, schools and employers should ensure these are positive experiences. 

(From Good Career Guidance website Experiences of workplaces | Gatsby)


Gatsby define these experiences as including; 

  • Workplace visits 
  • Work shadowing Work experience 

Throughout the pandemic, virtual work experience became more easily available and is continuing to grow as a viable means of an ‘experience of the workplace’. The Careers and Enterprise Company have offered guidance around implementing virtual placements if they are being used as a careers education activity and recorded as such.  

‘To include an activity under Benchmark 6, it must meet the following minimum requirements: 

 Learning outcomes are defined, based on the age and needs of students.  

Student meets a range of people from the workplace.  

There is extensive two-way interaction between the student and employees.  

Student must perform a task or produce a piece of work relevant to that workplace and receive feedback on it from the employer.’ 

Throughout the pandemic, there have been increasing online resources to cover Benchmark 6, read more around the guidance of using online experiences in place of face-to-face visits during restrictions here online_engagement_guidance_option_2.pdf (careersandenterprise.co.uk)  

Careers leaders can also reference virtual experiences of work places against the ‘is it meaningful?’ checklist, which can be found here: Making it meaningful | CEC Resource Directory (careersandenterprise.co.uk) 

Engagement and relationship building with local employers and businesses will help to provide a network that can be used to source these experiences. Careers leaders can also discuss ideas with their enterprise advisor.  

Just as important as the experience itself, is the work around any visit or placement to ensure students are prepared and learning outcomes are set and measurable. This could include employability lessons, preparing for work experience sessions, completion of a work experience booklet and reflection after any activity.  


Further reading and resources can be found here: