Work experience options
Find out about the types of work experience you can do.
What is work experience?
Work experience can be:
- any paid work that you do, such as mowing lawns
- work that you do for your community, such as helping on the marae or sports coaching
- volunteer work, such as working at a Trade Aid shop every week
- internships, such as working at a company to get experience with or without pay
- learning about a job while working on the job, for example trying a job while you're at school.
Why do work experience?
You learn more about a job or industry
When you get work experience you see first-hand what happens in a typical day on the job. You can:
- get an idea of what you like and don't like about that job
- ask people doing the job about how they got into it and what they like about it
- meet people who you can ask for help to find a job later on
- learn about all the other jobs in the workplace and if you might like them.
You improve your chances of finding a job
Chances of finding a job are better after work experience as:
- employers prefer to hire people with work experience
- employers who do work experience sometimes offer you a job if they like your attitude and ability.
- Skill Matcher tool - get job ideas based on your skills
You can study for NCEA credits
You may be able to study for NCEA and tertiary credits while on programmes such as Gateway or Work Inspiration.
Talk to your school's Gateway or Work Inspiration co-ordinator.
At school I did work experience as a hotel receptionist and in a travel agency – which helped me pick out what I actually wanted as a career. After school I decided to move away from home and start my study to become a flight attendant.
Completed Airline Qualification
What types of work experience are there?
Speak to your careers adviser, Gateway co-ordinator or a teacher at school to get on work experience programmes.
- You need to be in Year 11, 12 or 13 to do Gateway.
- To get into Gateway you have an interview with your school, then an interview with the employer.
- You work part time in a workplace, and also attend school.
- You study towards NCEA and tertiary credits.
- You need to be thirteen to eighteen years of age to get into Work Inspiration.
- You need a recommendation from a careers advisor or teacher.
- You work for three days in a workplace with other students from your school. You earn NCEA credits from this work.
- You get to interview people about their jobs and career paths as well as design and present a new business idea.
- You need to be in Year 12 to take part in Workchoice Day.
- On Workchoice Day in May you get to spend a day at two businesses of your choice.
- You watch a presentation and then try different aspects of the job.
Industry events and competitions
Competitions such as science fairs give you a chance to do some practical work while still at school.
Holiday jobs can give you valuable skills to add to your CV.
Good places to try for holiday work are:
- shops and cafes, which often hire extra workers in the holidays
- beach communities and ski fields
- farms, orchards and market gardens.
Volunteering is a great way to gain work experience and learn new skills, and meet people who can help you find related work, or act as a referee when you apply for jobs.
Part-time jobs help you get work experience – as long as you can balance a job with study and other commitments.
Cadetships and internships
Cadetships and internships allow you to work for a fixed term while your employer watches you closely to see if you are suitable for long-term work.
- usually are studying, a graduate or intending to study towards a qualification at the organisation
- usually paid for their work.
- SchoolConnect website - information about cadetships
- Te Puni Kokiri website - information about TPK cadetships
- may be at university, but are usually graduates
- don't usually study towards a qualification at the organisation
- are usually unpaid.
I hope to get a job as a curatorial assistant. Jobs in the arts are very hard to come by and very competitive, so I have interned and worked for a range of art galleries and museums in Sydney, Wellington and Christchurch.
Find out more
Careers New Zealand website
Updated 4 Dec 2018