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The Immeasurable Value of a Work Experience Program

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If you’re thinking about returning to school or continuing your education after high school, consider a program with a work experience component. A work experience program (WEP) is known by many different names, including internship, practicum, and co-op, although each iteration has a somewhat slightly different meaning.

An internship is usually completed after graduation, and the length of time it takes varies based on the industry and the company that offers it.

A practicum is typically a short-term, unpaid work experience program that takes place during the study period.

A co-op refers to a longer-term work experience program that may or may not be paid, depending on the industry and the organization.

Regardless of what the program is called, they all have many benefits. Take a look at the following to understand their value for your education and career development.

Throughout your work experience program, you are able to….

Practice your technical skills

Learning the technical theories in a classroom is often not enough. A WEP allows you to put into practice the skills you learned in the classroom and experience how they would apply in the real work environment.

Perfect your soft skills

You likely already possess a number of soft skills as a part of your personality. With the help of a work experience program, you will come to realize how important those soft skills are and how some of your personality traits can become transferable skills that can help you in your employment.

Test out a prospective career path

This is a great benefit of a WEP. It does not require a long-term commitment, and it allows you to try out a potential career path as a student. It’s almost like a trial period. After your WEP, if you realize that your chosen career or industry is not suitable for you, you can then reconsider your profession of choice.

Start building your network

In any industry, networking is critical, and a WEP introduces you to a group of people, allowing you to form contacts with them and, in turn, add them to your network. This is a fantastic chance for everyone, particularly those who are new to the industry or community.

Gain a valuable reference

Your WEP supervisor can also act as a professional reference on your resumé, and having a WEP as part of your educational history will help you stand out to potential employers.

Gain Confidence

Work experience programs also help you gain confidence. You will be monitored and supervised by an employee of your host company during the program, so if you have any concerns about your work, you will have someone to talk to. You’ll also have access to your school’s job coordinator, who can answer any questions you have about the curriculum, the industry, or your chosen career path.

At Brighton College, most programs offer a work experience component. Talk to an educational advisor today and see how a practicum or co-op can help you succeed.

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