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Work experience in your area

Helping people of all ages and backgrounds understand the world of work and make decisions about their education and career.

Work experience | Health Education England

We are working with partner organisations to increase the opportunities for people to experience work in the healthcare sector - broadening their knowledge of the available healthcare careers and helping to ensure the future workforce supply to the NHS.

Work experience can help an individual learn more about a desired career, gaining valuable practical knowledge. It can also help an individual develop aspirations for previously unconsidered career options. It is a requirement for some professions and higher education courses and can take many forms - being organised through schools, volunteering in an individual’s own time or a structured traineeship.


More than photocopying (Work experience - a toolkit for the NHS) provides information and resources to help NHS organisations offer high quality work experience opportunities. It aims to answers your questions and helps you to create or enhance a work experience programme that benefits your organisation. It builds on the good practice that is already in place in many parts of the health service.

Applicants have reported difficulties accessing opportunities within GP and dental surgeries and there are documented concerns from such organisations, which highlight issues such as indemnity and insurance, which are different for independent businesses. To help combat this, two additional toolkits (available in the related documents below) that focus on the detail needed to support work experience in dentistryand general practice have been developed.These two toolkits tackle specific issues, such as confidentiality, that might be putting dentists and GPs off providing work experience.

The toolkits have been designed to be used in several ways. You can read them from start to finish or you can dip into sections, which you can use to improve your existing programme.

A connected guide for teachers and careers advisers is available on the Health Careers Website. It explains how the NHS works, and provides information and practical tips on how to set up a placement.

Preparation for Work Programmes

Analysis, Findings and Recommendations

The term 'preparation for work' describes work related learning, work experience and employment programmes. Annually, over 19,800 work experience opportunities and 6,500 work related learning events were reported to take place within the health sector between 2014-2015. This is one of the largest programmes in England. 

Work experience is one of the key priorities within the Widening Participation: It Matters strategy, which was released in October 2014. In November 2014, we ran a work experience survey to understand current practice and scale of work experience opportunities within the health sector. 'Preparation for Work Programmes - Analysis, Findings and Recommendations' examines the engagement by healthcare organisations in providing preparation to work opportunities.

Movement to work

We are part of Movement to Work, a voluntary collaboration of UK employers committed to tackling youth unemployment through provision of high quality vocational training and work experience opportunities.

Pre-employment training programmes

In 2014/15, Health Education England ran 606 pre-employment programmes for young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) through the Prince’s Trust, of which 62% progressed into employment or further education.

Many local HEE teams and local organisations also run their own pre-employment programmes, providing opportunities for young people to complete training and a work experience placement to prepare them for employment.

Best practice

To learn from the experience of organisations that have run successful work experience programmes, take a look at the ‘health careers advice and information’ section of the Widening Participation Directory.