Building your skills through work experience

Organising to do some work experience can be a helpful first step toward getting a job.

Work experience provides an opportunity to observe and participate in the everyday activities of a workplace. It is usually unpaid work and runs for a limited period of time. Some work experience stints may be full-time for two or three weeks. Other work experience arrangements might be for a day or two each week over several weeks.

Some benefits of work experience

Work experience can have a number of benefits for people with disability. It is a great way to build your skills. It also lets you ‘test drive’ different jobs to see what roles appeal to you and what jobs are a good fit for your abilities.

Work experience can help you show an employer what tasks you are capable of. It allows you to display your positive attitude and eagerness to work. It can also help an employer assess changes that could be made in the workplace to help you do a better job.

Work experience can help you improve your résumé. It may even lead to a job offer at the end of the arrangement or some other point in the future.

How to get work experience

Your Disability Employment Services (DES) provider can give you information about work experience activities. These could include Work for the Dole activities, a role in the Green Army (for people aged 17 to 24) to help the environment, cultural and heritage activities, part-time study, voluntary work activities in the community sector, or unpaid or paid work in a social enterprise.

If you are not receiving income support or do not have a DES provider, you could seek work experience through family and friends, visit a few businesses in person and provide your résumé, or join a local community group or charity organisation.

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