Speakers for Schools
Virtual Work Experience

UK’s top provider of high quality Virtual Work Experience

The Leader in World-Class

Virtual Work Experience

Our aim as a charity is to level the playing field for young people across the UK when it comes to accessing high quality work experience to help them plan for their future careers.

Many young people struggle to access traditional in-person work experience, especially those from harder to reach areas or from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Through our Virtual Work Experience programme (VWEX), we remove the twin barriers of cost and geographical location for young people from state schools and colleges across the UK. This enables more young people to engage with employers to develop their understanding of the world of work in a meaningful way. It also allows employers to increase the number of placements they can run to accommodate a more diverse range of young people from any of the four UK nations.

Following the pandemic, demand for Virtual Work Experience has grown substantially and we are proud to be the only non-profit organisation operating at this scale to offer free UK-wide work experience. Going forwards, we can offer a hybrid solution for work experience, or a choice of online or on-site placements to provide maximum flexibility for both employers and young people.

Hear about Virtual Work Experience in the media

We invite employers, educators, careers leaders and young people to sign up for Virtual Work Experience today!

What Is Virtual Work Experience?

Virtual Work Experience (VWEX) is an online work experience placement offered by an employer to give students and young people the opportunity to experience the world of work remotely without having to travel to the employer’s office or base.

What is Virtual Work Experience?

Why Try Virtual Work Experience?

Access

ACCESS

Virtual Work Experience opens the doors of opportunity to young people right across the country and allows employers to grow their talent pipeline and make a difference to those who really need it.

Impact

IMPACT

Virtual Work Experience allows for greater impact, as “seats” are not required, opening up the chance for more young people to access great opportunities wherever they are.

FREE

As a charity, we are focused on ensuring educators and young people have great experiences and free access to our services to ensure a level playing field and meaningful outcomes.

Customer Services

SUPPORTED

We recognise that you will have many questions. This is why we will work closely with you to ensure you’re supported every step of the way under a structured and impactful programme.

OUR VIRTUAL WORK EXPERIENCE SUPPORTS…

Young People

We give young people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to eye-opening Virtual Work Experience placements and inspiring remote insight days.

Schools and Colleges

We help educators and careers leaders to connect their students with high impact placements with top employers remotely, eliminating the typical costs of travel and accommodation.

Employers

We work with large and small organisations to ensure they deliver exciting and meaningful Virtual Work Experience placements to the most deserving candidates from anywhere in the UK.

WHAT DO YOUNG PEOPLE SAY ABOUT OUR VIRTUAL WORK EXPERIENCE?

We’ve been absolutely wowed by the amount of positive feedback received from the tens of thousands of young people who took part in free Virtual Work Experience placements with our charity this year. Here are just some of the many comments we have received from the young people we have supported.

Young people

Apply for online work experience

Try different jobs in real life through free VWEX so you can find the best fit for you.

  • Experience the world of work first-hand
  • Gain an insight into different roles across a wide range of industries
  • Find out about the various career paths available
  • Build on your skills and improve your self-confidence
  • Get evidence of extra-curricular activities for your personal statement or CV
  • Meet senior professionals from leading UK organisations
  • Expand your network to include potential employers

Employers

Host online work experience

Engage with young people from thousands of state secondary schools and colleges across the UK by hosting VWEX placements.

  • Meets latest national standards for best practice for VWEX in all UK regions, including Gatsby Benchmarks 5 and 6
  • Delivers against your ESG, CSR and DEI targets
  • Delivers against Skills Builder Universal Framework and objectives set by Skills Development Scotland
  • Offers full safeguarding
  • 4 service levels available
  • 3 different varieties of VWEX available
  • Easy to implement and fully scalable
  • Out-of-hours customer support available

Educators

Offer online work experience to your students

Help your students start their career journey and connect with employers through our immersive free VWEX.

  • Meets latest national standards for best practice for VWEX in all UK regions, including Gatsby Benchmarks 5 and 6
  • Delivers against Skills Builder Universal Framework and objectives set by Skills Development Scotland
  • Offers full safeguarding
  • 3 different varieties of VWEX available
  • Easy to implement and fully scalable
  • No cost to your school or to your parents

Upcoming On-site & VIrtual Work Experience Opportunities

Cisco Systems

25 to 29 October 2021

Technology // Virtual

Curious about a career in technology? 5-day placement with global tech giant Cisco Systems

National Portrait Gallery

25 October 2021

Arts // Virtual

Explore a career in the arts and museums sector. Insight Day with National Portrait Gallery

British Army

21 October 2021

Defence // Virtual

Would you consider a career in nursing in the armed forces? Insight day with the British Army

Explore Previous On-site & Virtual Work Experience Opportunities

Speakers for Schools is the largest provider of high quality and interactive on-site and Virtual Work Experience for young people in the UK. Our charity has supported over 1 million young people and offered over 60,000 work experience placements since early 2020. We work with over 700 employers and offer a huge range of amazing opportunities – take a look at some of the placements on offer in the last 12 months.

Game Academy

Gaming, Digital

Enjoy gaming? Turn your hobby into a career. 5-day placement with Game Academy

Bentley Motors

Automotive, Business

Want to work for a premium luxury brand? Insight Day on careers in Business, Purchasing and Project Management with Bentley Motors

Financial Times

Business, Digital

Get the lowdown on what makes businesses tick – 5-day placement with global media company the Financial Times

Google

Technology, Digital

Get ahead with Google! 5-day placement with Google

L’Oreal

Digital, Retail

Where technology and beauty collide – 2-day placement with L’Oréal

Spotify

Technology, Music

Making it big with a leading music streaming service – 5-day placement with Spotify

Superdry plc

Retail, Digital

Take a sneak peek behind-the-scenes to find out how Superdry balances fast-paced fashion with sustainability

NHS Improvement

Healthcare, Public Sector

Discover the diversity of careers in nursing – NextGen Nursing Insight Day with NHS Improvement

Leicester Football Club

Sport, Business

Dream jobs in the Football Industry – Insight Day into Off-the-pitch careers with Leicester Football Club

Humankind Research

Psychology, Research

Are you interested in psychology? Short Insight session with Humankind Research

Dstl

STEM, Engineering

Cutting edge careers in STEM – 3-day placement with Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Corsight AI

AI, Technology

Exploring the future of facial recognition and AI. Short Insight Session with Corsight

McAfee

Security, Technology

Cracking the code – Insight Day with global cyber security company McAfee

AHR Architects

Architecture, Technology

Find out how technology is bringing existing buidings into the 21st century. Short Insight Session with architecture and building consultancy firm AHR

Access Creative

Creative, Digital

Getting started in games design – Insight Day with Access Creative

bp

Energy, STEM

Discover what working for a major global energy provider is like. 4-day placement with bp

Amey, Balfour Beatty, Wates and Willmott Dixon

Construction, Management

Want a career in management? Then consider working in the construction industry. 5-day placement with Amey, Balfour Beatty, Wates and Willmott Dixon

Marsh & McLennan

Professional Services, Business

How far can an apprenticeship take you? Find out on this 4-day placement with global professional services firm Marsh McLennan.

Royal Air Force

Armed Forces, Security

Find out about the 23 different apprenticeships on offer with the RAF. Reach for the skies with an Insight Day with the RAF.

Morgan Sindall Construction

Construction, Digital

Technology transforming the Construction Industry – Construction Insight Day with Morgan Sindall Construction

PwC

Professional Services, Business

Picture yourself as a young professional? Insight Day with professional services company PwC

M&C Saatchi

Advertising, Sales

Learn what it takes to make it in advertising. 8-week programme with leading advertising agency M and C Saatchi

British Airways

Aviation, Engineering

Building a more sustainable airline. Insight Day with British Airways

Nottinghamshire police

Emergency Services, Public Sector

‘Eye in the sky’ policing – Insight Day with Nottinghamshire Police

The Francis Crick Institute

Medicine, Research

Discover how life really works. 4-day placement with biomedical research centre The Francis Crick Institute.

University of Law

Law, Higher Education

Considering a career in law? Insight Day with The University of Law

Virgin Money

Banking, Finance

Getting started in a career in finance – Banking Insight Day with Virgin Money

Tesco

Retail, Finance

Find out what makes Tesco so successful – 4-day placement with Tesco’s head office finance department

Santander

Banking, Finance

Want to know about careers in banking? Join an Insight Day with Santander

Thames Water

Utilities, Engineering

Every drop counts – Engineering Insight Day with Thames Water

Find out more about Virtual Work Experience

Virtual Work Experience (VWEX) allows employers to deliver a variety of work experience opportunities online to young people without the need for participants to ever attend the physical workplace. Every online placement that Speakers for Schools offer is led by the employer and is hosted in a secure online setting so that young people can safely attend live presentations, participate in interactive and collaborative real-time tasks and activities, and ‘meet’ working professionals from the employer’s organisation. Although some organisations offer self-learning work experience online, these are proven to fall short of delivering meaningful outcomes for young people. All Virtual Work Experience placements offered by Speakers for Schools meet the latest national standards for best practice for Virtual Work Experience in all UK regions, including Gatsby Benchmarks 5 and 6.

Speakers for Schools launched its Virtual Work Experience (VWEX) programme to complement its existing in-person work experience programme shortly before the start of the pandemic. Since then, we have seen a massive surge in uptake and demand for Virtual Work Experience from young people, employers and educators.

During the 12-month period April 2020 to March 2021, we delivered 15,127 work experience placements. 95% of these placements were delivered through Virtual Work Experience.

At Speakers for Schools, we offer three types of Virtual Work Experience placements:

  • Discovery Days (1-2 hour sessions)
  • Virtual Insight Days (1-day taster session)
  • Work Experience (3-5-day structured programme)

All our Virtual Work Experience placements can be offered either by region, by country or UK-wide.

The roles offered to students when taking part in virtual work experience placements can vary just as much as any in-person placement. However, one thing that is consistent is that we work very closely with educators and employers to ensure that students are matched with the right employers based on what both parties are looking for, helping to ensure more meaningful placements.

At Speakers for Schools, we offer virtual work experience placements for young people aged 14-19, not just school leavers. While many schools offer online work experience in the summer term, our online work experience can be completed at any point in the year.

Exams are a crucial part of school life, and we understand that students in key exam years are already extremely busy with revision and exam timetables.

We work closely with our employers to ensure that we offer a wide selection of placements for all key year groups throughout the year so that students sitting final exams are still able to participate in the online work experience programme at other points throughout the academic year.

As students leave for higher education, apprenticeships or work placements, work experience placements aren’t often at the forefront of their mind. However, competitive markets for their next stage in life can lead to difficulty achieving the desired opportunity.

 Virtual work experience for year 12s can provide the advantage many school leavers need, while also boosting their confidence and providing inspiration for their career path with virtual work experience placements.

Our online work experience programme is currently available to any student or young person aged between 14 and 19 who attends a school or college registered with Speakers for Schools.  No previous experience is required to apply.

We cater for students looking for online work experience opportunities in numerous sectors and industries, including law. We provide everything from engineering work experience to medical work experience opportunities for young people aged 14-19 (typically years 10 through to 13 in England and Wales, years 11 through to 14 in Northern Ireland and S4 through to S6 in Scotland.)

We are constantly working with current and new employers to provide the widest range of virtual work experience placements for young people.

While online work experience is typically completed by young people aged 15 and above, Speakers for Schools offers placements for young people from the age of 14. Employers define the age range for any placement that they host and the age category for each placement is flagged clearly on the placement details to ensure that a young person can see whether a placement is suitable for them.

Each online work experience is designed to be as engaging as possible and young people are encouraged to interact with their peers as part of the planned activities. As young people will be at different stages in their development depending on their age, they will only ever be placed with young people of a similar age.

We highly recommend putting virtual work experience on your C.V. Virtual work experience programmes are seen by employers as just as credible as in-person work placements. 

When a candidate shows they have completed an online work experience programme, not only are they showing relevant skills and experience, but also a passion and willingness within the sector.

Virtual Work Experience Testimonials

“We are excited about growing the potential of the young people of Northern Ireland. Whilst we adapt to COVID-safe working, we must not sacrifice young people’s access to career experiences. We are delighted to partner with Speakers for Schools to equip today's young people with the digital literacy and critical thinking skills that our future economy will so desperately need.”
Gemma Crothers, Social Responsibility Manager, Kainos (Belfast technology organisation)
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this unique experience, particularly during a time where it is almost impossible for schools and colleges to enable real life work experience. Although students can’t be at one of our sites in person, they will get to virtually meet real life defence scientists and find out about some of the exciting science projects they are working on. They’ll be developing their employability skills too, as we’ll be setting exciting interactive challenges relating to each of the work areas.”
Jaime Williamson, heads up Early Careers for Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory)
“We thought the pandemic would prevent us from offering the chance for young people to experience life in the NHS before they have to take the next steps in their career/educational journey. But we have found that by partnering with companies like Speakers for Schools we can still offer these opportunities in new and innovative ways, potentially allowing us to reach even more young people both individually and whilst in the classroom.”
Sallie Johnson, NHS Futures Manager at NHS Futures Team, The Royal Wolverhampton Trust
“Really pleased to still be able to offer young people this opportunity despite the circumstances. I found the young people to be incredibly engaged and motivated and asked lots of good questions. They were eager to learn as much as they could from us, and it was refreshing for me to share what I know with young people. I hope the students that took part have learnt something and would now consider a career in my sector.”
Heidi Isacks, Technology Internal Comms and Events Coordinator, Tesco
“We were so impressed with the young people we worked with virtually over the week as they engaged whole-heartedly in all the activities. As well as broadening their life skills we hope that this opportunity to learn about the industry may inspire and pave the way for more young people to consider a future career in tourism.”
Debra Lang, HR Director, VisitBritain
“It was a great experience and I wish that it lasted longer. I learnt many skills and it was a unique experience that was a positive from this pandemic.”
Post-placement feedback survey for a Green Skills VWEX placement
“My placement was an amazing experience for me to grow in confidence and team working skill as well in getting a taster of the real world of work in green careers. It's increased my knowledge of working and has made me feel more confident for the future.”
Post-placement feedback survey for a Green Skills VWEX placement
“My placement was greatly captivating and very informative in the areas of construction, especially green construction. Presentations were well-organised and well-delivered, and provided a brilliant insight into the engineering & construction world which otherwise I would not have known, as well as helping with my confidence in group work and presenting my own projects.”
Post-placement feedback survey for a Green Skills VWEX placement
“Many young students have been prevented from doing in-person work experience due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but virtual work experience is equally as good. It is very helpful because sometimes you are set on one career path without fully understanding it, and doing work experience can make you realise you are more interested or well suited to a different industry or job. During one workshop, I learnt how to measure my own carbon footprint, which definitely left some food for thought!”
One of our students who did Green Skills VWEX, quoted in the press
“This work experience provided so much insight for me into the world of careers in engineering, in two main senses. The first is that, through the lecturers and speakers, the idea of a career in this field became so much clearer and closer… It also showed me so much about the diversity of the occupation, and how many different fields I could go in to, from health and safety to environmental protection.”
Student case study on VWEX with Align JV
“I took part in a virtual work experience over half term with Morgan Sindall Construction. The good thing about this work experience was that not only did I learn a lot about the of work, but I also made multiple new friends with people from all over the UK from the ages of 16-18.”
Feb VWEX with Morgan Sindall
“As I have carried both in person and virtual placements, the biggest advantage of a virtual placement is that you are able to join from the comfort of your own home, which means there is no travel time.”
Student case study on Virtual Insight Day with RAPP