What’s the difference between work experience and a job?

Work experience is a great way to grow your skills and is a critical addition to your CV.

Unlike being employed, work experience is only for a set amount of time (whatever you agree on with the employer) and you usually won’t get paid. That means employers can afford to take a chance on new trainees who don’t have the experience it usually takes to get employed. In return, you’ll get a great experience to add to your CV and a reference to help you get a job in the future.

Why should I do work experience?

There are huge benefits to doing work experience if you’re just starting out in the trades:

  • It’ll help you get a foot in the door because it’s much less risky for an employer to take you on for work experience than to offer you a job contract.
  • You’ll get to use the skills you’ve learned in the classroom, and you’ll learn heaps about life on the job.
  • You’ll get a trade job to add to your CV.
  • You can ask for a reference, for when you apply for a job later.
  • It’s a lot easier to get a job once you have some experience in your trade.
  • Once the employer gets to know you and sees you’re a hard worker, they might be keen to offer you paid work.

How do I find work experience in the trades?

Try these ideas for finding work experience opportunities:

  • Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for work experience in your trade. You never know who might be able to help, and if an employer knows someone who knows you, they’ll be more likely to take you on.
  • If you know anyone who works in your trade, ask if they or their employer have any work experience opportunities.
  • MPTT has contacts throughout the trades industry, so ask your MPTT Navigator if they know of any work experience opportunities.
  • Try asking an employer directly. Let them know you like their company and would love to offer your skills. It takes guts to introduce yourself to an employer, but it shows you have get-up-and-go and can really help you stand out. Even if they say ‘no’, they’ll appreciate your confidence and might suggest other employers for you to approach.
  • Read our blog to find out the best way to get some trades experience under your belt while you are studying, to help you land the job you want later.