3 mins read

What is ‘Virtual Work Experience’ & Should You Do It?

22 September 2021   |   by Explore Careers

In a year of lockdowns, social distancing, remote learning and remote working – we’ve all had to adapt to new ways of doing things! Many young people, hungry to get their first taste of work experience, have had to put plans on hold indefinitely.

But what if there was a way to get some exposure to the workplace and career of your dreams without leaving your house?

Remote work seems destined to become more prominent in the years ahead – virtual work experience might be the chance to get experience not only of the workplace but of what remote work could look like.

Hold On, What Exactly is Virtual Work Experience?

Also referred to as online, remote, or digital work experience, virtual work experience can help you develop your knowledge within a specific industry and learn about the different roles you might get involved with.

Programs can be pretty varied, depending on where you’re at in your school journey and what the program aims to deliver. Some might last for one day, and others can last as long as two weeks, where you’ll complete a set amount of ‘logged’ hours during that timeframe.

Virtual work experience programs are usually a blend of:

  • Live webinars and Q&As with professionals from the industry
  • Mentoring from industry professionals from the workplace you’re matched with
  • Virtual workplace tours
  • Small projects and activity work
  • Reading assignments, interactive videos and knowledge assessments
  • Guidance on career pathways and next steps

3 Benefits of Virtual Work Experience Programs

We know in a world of social distancing and lockdowns, doing yet another thing online might not seem that exciting.

We don’t think you should see virtual work experience as taking over from face-to-face experience, but it can definitely help you during these changing times!

Here are three benefits that make them worth exploring:

  1. Developing the right skills for the future of work: As mentioned, remote work has been steadily increasing for a few years, and the pandemic has accelerated the number of people working in this way. It’s definitely here to stay! A virtual work experience program can help you prepare for what this will be like. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and develop the skills you need to meet our changing world of work.
  2. Helping you to make career decisions: Lots of work experience programs in school or university only allow you to take part once, maybe twice a year, and you need to be incredibly selective about what you do – if you even get a say!. Virtual work experience allows you to get more experience across different roles, learn about different sectors and contribute to your decision making for future opportunities! Because virtual programs can be short – anywhere from half a day and up – they give you a chance to get more exposure and plan for the areas you want to get more experience in when you can!
  3. Opening up global opportunities: Because they’re virtual, you can participate in programs from anywhere in the world! Many are self-paced, and there is lots of recorded content out there for you to dive straight into. Virtual work experience has the potential to take you anywhere in the world and get access to work environments, people and companies you might not otherwise.
  4. Accessibility for all: Beyond boosting your knowledge and transferable skills, virtual work experience opens the door wide in terms of accessibility for a much greater range of young people. No matter what you’re ability, availability, or current skillset, there’s bound to be an online program that can help get you started on the first steps to the career of your dreams.

Where to Get Started

So, what do you think? Could a virtual work placement be just the ticket to help you on your way with the career of your dreams?

There are a few great sites with fantastic offerings already, and more are starting every day.

Here are a few we recommend you take a look at if you’re ready to get started:

  1. InsideSherpa: Offering lots of different programs across different industries, including Fortune500 companies!
  2. CSIRO: STEM-based projects via their virtual work experience program – sign up for when new applications are being accepted!
  3. Pinsent Masons: Interested in a career in law? Check out this free virtual work experience, taking you behind the scenes of a top law firm!
  4. Springpod: Offering a wide variety of programs across a huge range of industries – self-paced and accessible anywhere in the world!

And don’t forget, we’ve got everything you need to help you if you’re unsure where to start with work experience!

Our Career Quiz and Industry Profiles are teeming with information to help you on your way!


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