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I'm struggling to get work experience

I'm doing STEM based subjects.
My close family members have not done STEM subjects.
So I need some help getting into the field and choosing a course. A lot of work experiences are for widening participation.
Does anyone have any websites/ advice for work experiences?
thanks :smile:
Original post by DaydreamingTeen
I'm doing STEM based subjects.
My close family members have not done STEM subjects.
So I need some help getting into the field and choosing a course. A lot of work experiences are for widening participation.
Does anyone have any websites/ advice for work experiences?
thanks :smile:


What are you looking to study at university?
Original post by Crazed cat lady
What are you looking to study at university?


icl, im not sure.
Reply 3
Original post by DaydreamingTeen
icl, im not sure.


It doesn't matter then tbh if you really care just do some volunteering.
Original post by DaydreamingTeen
I'm doing STEM based subjects.
My close family members have not done STEM subjects.
So I need some help getting into the field and choosing a course. A lot of work experiences are for widening participation.
Does anyone have any websites/ advice for work experiences?
thanks :smile:


What year of study are you in?
What specific subject are you studying and what possible subjects are you considering for a degree?

Most STEM degrees are academic and work experience isn't required or recommended for entry.
Original post by DaydreamingTeen
icl, im not sure.


Unless you are looking to apply for something like medicine, work experience is neither expected nor the norm when it comes to applying for STEM degrees.
Original post by PQ
What year of study are you in?
What specific subject are you studying and what possible subjects are you considering for a degree?

Most STEM degrees are academic and work experience isn't required or recommended for entry.


I am in year 12
im not sure tbh
ah okay- I didn't know that
Original post by Crazed cat lady
Unless you are looking to apply for something like medicine, work experience is neither expected nor the norm when it comes to applying for STEM degrees.

Original post by PQ
What year of study are you in?
What specific subject are you studying and what possible subjects are you considering for a degree?

Most STEM degrees are academic and work experience isn't required or recommended for entry.

yes, its not expected. it is definitely recommended.

i have a ton of work experience that i did last year (y12) and recommend that in y12 you bang out work experience, lectures, online courses run by unis or companies etc. It makes your application to uni, degree apprenticeships or internships you want during uni much more attractive. also its fun and will help decide what you want

look for companies that interest you - check the website for opportunities or sign up to job alerts so you get an email when they open work experience. i emailed companies that didn't publicise work experience to express my interest as they could take you on for a week even if they don't have a dedicated programme, and some companies hide it - this happened with jaguar land rover who then emailed me a link to apply but it was nowhere on their website.

look at smaller companies too - they are likely to take you on. write a cover letter, make a cv or linkedin and you're good. let me know if you want more advice or specific opportunities, as i said i've done loads myself and encourage people in the year below me to do so too.
(edited 12 months ago)
Original post by user8937264980
yes, its not expected. it is definitely recommended.

i have a ton of work experience that i did last year (y12) and recommend that in y12 you bang out work experience, lectures, online courses run by unis or companies etc. It makes your application to uni, degree apprenticeships or internships you want during uni much more attractive. also its fun and will help decide what you want

look for companies that interest you - check the website for opportunities or sign up to job alerts so you get an email when they open work experience. i emailed companies that didn't publicise work experience to express my interest as they could take you on for a week even if they don't have a dedicated programme, and some companies hide it - this happened with jaguar land rover who then emailed me a link to apply but it was nowhere on their website.

look at smaller companies too - they are likely to take you on. write a cover letter, make a cv and you're good. let me know if you want more advice or specific opportunities, as i said i've done loads myself and encourage people in the year below me to do so too.


I’ve worked alongside and in admissions for over 15 years.

for most STEM courses work experience isn’t recommended - only very privileged applicants will have had an opportunity to find relevant work experience for most STEM courses - universities will deliberately disregard reference to those sorts of experiences so as to not disadvantage applicants who haven’t been privileged enough to find relevant placements.

Doing work experience to find out more about different jobs or because it’s enjoyable or interesting is a great idea. But it’s not going to benefit an application to an academic degree subject. Spending time researching course content, doing MOOCs, engaging with online or public lectures and other super curricular activities is more beneficial by far.
Original post by PQ
I’ve worked alongside and in admissions for over 15 years.

for most STEM courses work experience isn’t recommended - only very privileged applicants will have had an opportunity to find relevant work experience for most STEM courses - universities will deliberately disregard reference to those sorts of experiences so as to not disadvantage applicants who haven’t been privileged enough to find relevant placements.

Doing work experience to find out more about different jobs or because it’s enjoyable or interesting is a great idea. But it’s not going to benefit an application to an academic degree subject. Spending time researching course content, doing MOOCs, engaging with online or public lectures and other super curricular activities is more beneficial by far.


i didnt know they disregarded work experience. in that case, you should do it to develop your own skills or if you want internships or a degree apprenticeship. kinda seems like bull**** as i put loads of time into getting experience and engaging in super curricular activities, and i had to put in loads of effort to get and do well in them. i also wouldn't call applicants 'priveleged' if theyve got work experience - most of the online courses i did favoured disadvantaged people and like i said, i pushed and emailed loads of companies to get the opportunities. i think it shows youve got a passion, dedication and go beyond just doing a levels

in my opinion i think it can only do you good. i agree that super curricular activites etc are very beneficial but some work experience is good depending on what you want to do - like i said its also fun and made me more excited to be an engineer. at the end of the day, youre better off engaging in activities to boost your skills or resume than just sitting on your hands like most people do in y12.
(edited 12 months ago)
Original post by user8937264980
i didnt know they disregarded work experience. in that case, you should do it to develop your own skills or if you want internships or a degree apprenticeship. kinda seems like bull**** as i put loads of time into getting experience and engaging in super curricular activities, and i had to put in loads of effort to get and do well in them. i also wouldn't call applicants 'priveleged' if theyve got work experience - most of the online courses i did favoured disadvantaged people and like i said, i pushed and emailed loads of companies to get the opportunities. i think it shows youve got a passion, dedication and go beyond just doing a levels

in my opinion i think it can only do you good. i agree that super curricular activites etc are very beneficial but some work experience is good depending on what you want to do - like i said its also fun and made me more excited to be an engineer. at the end of the day, youre better off engaging in activities to boost your skills or resume than just sitting on your hands like most people do in y12.

I didn’t say it isn’t worth doing work experience. There’s no need to get upset because you have done it - there’s plenty of good reasons to do WE, but to boost an application to an academic degree isn’t one of them.

I said that for most STEM degrees the courses are academic. So work experience isn’t helpful or recommended - because very few applicants will be able to find relevant work experience for an ACADEMIC degree.

Spending time on academic research, projects and activities is a much better use of time than chasing work experience placements that are unlikely to be relevant or helpful for an academic degree. The most valuable use of time is researching the details of the course content at the universities that you’re considering.
Original post by DaydreamingTeen
I am in year 12
im not sure tbh
ah okay- I didn't know that


In that case I would recommend the best use of your time is to make some time to browse through a bunch of prospectuses/university websites and create a long list of degrees that you might be interested in - and then take some time to try out some bits of those degrees. Free online courses (MOOCs), public/online lectures, podcasts and documentaries, books if that’s something you enjoy. Basically give yourself the time and effort to do research and then FOLLOW what you find interesting. If it’s a massive drag to find out about a subject or topic or you find yourself putting it off and getting distracted then cross that one off your list and spend your time finding out about something that sparks your curiosity.

That genuine interest and enthusiasm is what will not only help you build up some super curricular knowledge and activities but will give you an advantage to get through a 3+ year degree.
Original post by PQ
I didn’t say it isn’t worth doing work experience. There’s no need to get upset because you have done it - there’s plenty of good reasons to do WE, but to boost an application to an academic degree isn’t one of them.

I said that for most STEM degrees the courses are academic. So work experience isn’t helpful or recommended - because very few applicants will be able to find relevant work experience for an ACADEMIC degree.

Spending time on academic research, projects and activities is a much better use of time than chasing work experience placements that are unlikely to be relevant or helpful for an academic degree. The most valuable use of time is researching the details of the course content at the universities that you’re considering.


nah dont worry im not upset - i was thinking about engineering which is more practical. i agree with what youre saying

on another note, while ive got admissions personnel here, i got rejected from 4/5 unis despite having 3A* and loads of work experience/super curricular stuff in school and externally such as university courses, engineering lectures, research into vehicle sustainability, cambridge residentials - the lot.

i've been given pretty vague feedback and according to bristols candidate requirements, i must be somewhere in the top 10% with the gcses and a-levels ive got and think i go beyond all their criteria. i dont mean to boast or anything but i really dont get where i went wrong. is there other admissions stuff that they dont disclose - based off personal information for example (like my dads job as a doctor making me seem advantaged?) - and do you think i should ask for more feedback? im really big on feedback and trying to improve myself as much as possible
(edited 12 months ago)
Original post by user8937264980
yes, its not expected. it is definitely recommended.

i have a ton of work experience that i did last year (y12) and recommend that in y12 you bang out work experience, lectures, online courses run by unis or companies etc. It makes your application to uni, degree apprenticeships or internships you want during uni much more attractive. also its fun and will help decide what you want

look for companies that interest you - check the website for opportunities or sign up to job alerts so you get an email when they open work experience. i emailed companies that didn't publicise work experience to express my interest as they could take you on for a week even if they don't have a dedicated programme, and some companies hide it - this happened with jaguar land rover who then emailed me a link to apply but it was nowhere on their website.

look at smaller companies too - they are likely to take you on. write a cover letter, make a cv or linkedin and you're good. let me know if you want more advice or specific opportunities, as i said i've done loads myself and encourage people in the year below me to do so too.


For a lot of science degrees, there is no relevant work experience options available for most A level students. The 17 year old prospective biochemist isn't going to get work experience in a lab because it becomes a health and safety liability (unless of course you parent is a lecturer and can bend the rules). That is why it is not expected.

Options for relevant work experience for vocational purposes become available once you are an undergraduate.
Original post by user8937264980
nah dont worry im not upset - i was thinking about engineering which is more practical. i agree with what youre saying

on another note, while ive got admissions personnel here, i got rejected from 4/5 unis despite having 3A* and loads of work experience/super curricular stuff in school and externally such as university courses, engineering lectures, research into vehicle sustainability, cambridge residentials - the lot.

i've been given pretty vague feedback and according to bristols candidate requirements, i must be somewhere in the top 10% with the gcses and a-levels ive got and think i go beyond all their criteria. i dont mean to boast or anything but i really dont get where i went wrong. is there other admissions stuff that they dont disclose - based off personal information for example (like my dads job as a doctor making me seem advantaged?) - and do you think i should ask for more feedback? im really big on feedback and trying to improve myself as much as possible

It’s always worth asking for more feedback.
With engineering it’s often subject mix at A level as much as predicted grades. Applicants with just 3 A levels are often at a disadvantage (note: for engineering) because FM is a big plus as a 4th A level subject (and less so if it’s one of 3 A levels or if you’re applying with 3 A levels not including FM). If I remember rightly over 50% of people taking FM get an A or A* grade.

if you didn’t get any offers that you liked then YINI is hugely worthwhile for a gap year (better than WE - you get paid well, get really useful experience and often the chance to move out and live independently if you want it). And applying with 3 A* in the bag will be much more appealing than predictions.
Original post by PQ
It’s always worth asking for more feedback.
With engineering it’s often subject mix at A level as much as predicted grades. Applicants with just 3 A levels are often at a disadvantage (note: for engineering) because FM is a big plus as a 4th A level subject (and less so if it’s one of 3 A levels or if you’re applying with 3 A levels not including FM). If I remember rightly over 50% of people taking FM get an A or A* grade.

if you didn’t get any offers that you liked then YINI is hugely worthwhile for a gap year (better than WE - you get paid well, get really useful experience and often the chance to move out and live independently if you want it). And applying with 3 A* in the bag will be much more appealing than predictions.

thank you. im very happy with my offer but im also considering a degree apprenticeship ive got. its just a bit depressing getting rejected from everywhere lol. but onwards and upwards!
Original post by DaydreamingTeen
I'm doing STEM based subjects.
My close family members have not done STEM subjects.
So I need some help getting into the field and choosing a course. A lot of work experiences are for widening participation.
Does anyone have any websites/ advice for work experiences?
thanks :smile:


Hi @DaydreamingTeen, I would recommend looking on Gradcracker and Rate my placement these are great websites for looking for internships and work experience. Ensuring your CV and Cover letter are completed and only need tailoring this makes you ready to apply for positions with deadlines, whilst being busy with your studies. I would also recommend you email companies and ask them if it is something they can accommodate, there is no harm in asking, the worst they could do is say no. Hope this helps!

Gurpej Kaur(Student Rep)

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