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There's no substitute for (work) experience – BA can help your career take off

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WITH the long school summer holidays drawing near, it’s time to secure some work experience.

If you are at school, college or university, gaining in-job experience is vital for key reasons.

British Airways employee Max Steele was one of the airline's work experience workers before becoming a cabin crew member

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British Airways employee Max Steele was one of the airline’s work experience workers before becoming a cabin crew member

It boosts your CV, shows you can perform in a workplace and can help you make contacts.

Many firms offer programmes over the summer holidays with applications open now.

But research by social mobility charity Speakers for Schools found half of young people in state schools cannot access work experience — yet this is often used to assess university applications.

The “work experience” gap between underprivileged and weal­thier families is so big the study found it stops many working-class students from applying to “top” universities.

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SFS head Nick Brook said: “Our report finds the odds stacked firmly in favour of pupils from more advantaged backgrounds.”

With a third of firms preferring to hire candidates with relevant work experience, here’s our guide to landing space on a scheme.

British Airways has over 80 placements and 500 spaces for one-day work experience between September and December.

Opportunities are open to students in year 10/S4, and university students and cover customer service, ground operations, engineering, business, and flight operations.

Apply by May 15 at  careers.ba.com/work-experience.

One in five BA apprentices is taken on after work experience there,   like cabin crew member Max Steele.

I earn £4k a month doing a boring job no one wants – and it takes just one day of training to learn the ropes

The 23-year-old from Surrey said: “While in sixth form  I spent a week at the BA Global Learning Academy, where they train new entrant cabin and flight crew and it was brilliant.

“Whatever work experience you undertake, you will gain invaluable transferable skills.”

Other work experience opportunities

Publisher Penguin Books offers two weeks of work experience all year round. Visit penguinrandomhousecareers.co.uk/training-programmes.

PWC has 500 paid summer placements. See pwc.co.uk/careers/early-careers/our-programmes/summer-internship.html.

The Times offers work experience with its digital team, year-round. See thetimes.co.uk/static/digital-work-experience.

Accountancy group KPMG has a Discovery Programme open to Year 13 and above students. See kpmgcareers.co.uk/apprentice/work-experience/discovery-work-experience.

Santander Bank is offering virtual insights days at santander.com/en/careers/uk-careers/emerging-talent/work-experience.

Lawyers Pinsent Masons offer a five-day programme or virtual work experience at pinsentmasons.com/careers/graduate/work-experience/united-kingdom.


How to a place on a suitable scheme

NAOMI Ambrose is Head of Work Experience charity thetalenttap.com. Here she shares her expert advice:

Brainstorm

Identify the areas you’d most like to work in and consider why.

Will it support you in getting into uni or landing your dream first job? Link your work experience to plans.

Apply early

Lots of major firms plan work experience programmes for months.

Look on company websites and sign up for opening dates. Follow firms on social media too. 

Tailor your applications

The more applications you send, the more likely you are to succeed.

But do not go for a blanket approach as companies will see through it.

Think of something you can do for the firm and include that in your application.

Get your hands dirty

Be prepared to take on any role you get offered.  Any experience can look good on a CV if well-worded.

Make yourself part of the team

While on your work experience, make yourself indispensable, and memorable and keep networking.

Can’t find what you need? Ask for help. Finding work experience is hard.


Beware of job scams

ONE in three jobseekers has been hit by an employment scam, and the number of people searching for information on fake job ads has doubled in the last month.

Here Rob Phelps, an expert from IT business support provider Netzen, reveals the red flags to watch out for.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Fake job listings often offer huge salaries, perks and responsibilities, but don’t require any qualifications or previous experience.

A starting salary that is above the average, especially for someone with zero experience, is not likely to be legitimate.

Watch out for job listings and offers that are badly written.

Most fake ads are put together by AI and can have nonsensical sentences and weird phrasing.

Is it too vague? Fake job ads often feature a very imprecise job description that could apply to a wide range of industries to get as many people interested as possible.

Real recruiters will know everything about the job you’re enquiring about, from responsibilities to annual leave, even if they’re not able to reveal the name of the company.

If they avoid your questions or seem to not know the answers, be wary.

Are they contacting you via a free email address like Gmail, rather than a company domain? Have you received a text or WhatsApp out of the blue? Have they sent you a link to a site to get more information about the role?

Check the spelling of the email address and website. Often, scammers copy legitimate company addresses but change just one letter or digit.

Have you been asked for money? This is the biggest warning.

Real employers won’t be asking you to pay upfront for training or equipment, especially not during the hiring process.

Are they putting you under pressure? If the recruiter is rushing through the hiring process, skipping interviews, and pressuring you to send over personal information that isn’t on your CV, take a moment to pause and think about whether this is real.


It pays to be loyal

CUSTOMER loyalty is a fast-growing sector with thousands of vacancies nationwide.

Now the Antavo Loyalty Cloud platform offers 100 free training courses to career changers looking to move into the industry.

Around a third of company marketing budgets are dedicated to customer loyalty and nine in ten firms with a loyalty programme are looking to improve it this year.

Zsuzsa Kecsmar, co-founder at Antavo, said: “Businesses can take existing customers for granted.

“But smart organisations have customer and loyalty teams whose sole focus is to make existing customers happy. It’s a sector very much on the up.”

Apply at tinyurl.com/bvznauec.


Jobspot

CAR sales giant Pendragon is recruiting for more than 280 roles including vehicle technicians, business managers and contact centre executives.

For details see www.jobsatpendragongroup.co.uk/vacancy.


The heat is on

POWER up your career with Octopus Energy.

The firm is hiring 40 low-carbon-technology apprentices to train on new heat pumps.

The jobs are open to anyone aged 16 and over, but applicants must achieve Level 2 functional skills in Maths and English to gain a place on the course.

John Szymik, chief executive of Octopus Energy Services, said: “Our apprenticeship means those at the start of their career, regardless of background, have a  chance to develop the skills for an exciting, lifelong career.”

For more details see octopus.energy/oes-career.


Jobspot

HOUSEBUILDERS Barratt Homes is hiring 155 trade apprentices and a further 45 in 2025.

Find out more at barrattcareers.co.uk/early-careers/intermediate-advanced-apprentices.

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