The smart guide to finding work experience

Did you know there are more than 350 different careers in the NHS? You could be a speech and language therapist, chef, dietitian, cleaner, secretary, engineer, laboratory scientist, occupational therapist, or maybe a surgeon. The NHS is the biggest employer in the country and all these jobs need to be filled; why not by you?

Why do work experience?

Work experience will show you how the NHS really works - especially useful if you’ve only seen it on the TV or when you’ve been ill! It can also help you experience being a part of a team and develop skills that will give you a head start when you apply for a job or university course.

Some jobs are ‘clinical’, which means directly related to patients and their treatment - such as nursing or physiotherapy - and some are ‘non-clinical’, such as engineering or office work. These jobs are not directly related to patients, although every job in the NHS helps people in some way. Work experience is useful for whichever type of career you are interested in, and it is still valuable to get non-clinical work experience even if you hope to end up in a clinical career.

Most careers in the NHS involve training and many clinical roles require higher education, such as a degree or an apprenticeship. Many NHS organisations and universities want to be certain that students really understand what an NHS career involves before offering them a job or a place on a course. Work experience is a great way of seeing what it’s like working in the health service and showing your commitment to your future NHS career.

Best of all, work experience can be fascinating. Read about what other students have experienced on their placements by visiting our work experience stories section.

Explore the rest of the smart guide by clicking on the blue boxes below.