Getting work experience

If you do not have a lot of work experience yet you can get more by volunteering or getting an apprenticeship or trainee-ship.


Watch a video from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations about volunteering.

Volunteering England – downloadable guide if you’re thinking of volunteering

Volunteering England – downloadable guide on who is allowed to volunteer

Volunteering Brent – register to find local volunteer opportunities

Find opportunities in London through Do-It

Find out about your rights at work if you are thinking about volunteering

Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Normally apprenticeships and traineeships are for younger people and people who have not had many jobs yet.

Information about Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Information from the Government about apprenticeships

National Apprenticeship Service – different apprenticeships in different industries

National Apprenticeship Service – downloadable guide: Is Trainee-ship for you?

Local and national apprenticeships

Brent Council has its own Apprenticeship scheme

Brent Council has its own Trainee-ships scheme

Search and apply for apprenticeships in Brent

National Apprenticeship Service has a lot of advice and information

Watch a video from the National Apprenticeship Service about how to apply with them.

Government Work Schemes

Work Experience

The Job Centre Plus might suggest you do Work Experience if you are:

  • aged between 18 years and 24 years;
  • getting Job Seekers Allowance for more than 3 months.

They can find a local employer for you to do work experience with. You might not get paid but you will still get your Job Seekers Allowance.

You do not have to do this work experience but it might help if you have not had much experience of work before. If you decide not to do the Work Experience that the Job Centre Plus gets for you, or if you start one and then drop out, they might force you to do Mandatory Work Activity.  Avoid this by finding your own work experience or finding your own volunteering opportunity.

Mandatory Work Activity

‘Mandatory’ means you have to do it or your benefits might be reduced or stopped.

Your Job Centre Plus Adviser should tell you that they will refer you to a Mandatory Work Scheme before they do it and talk to you about why.

You do not have to do the Work Activity unless the Job Centre Plus or the company that you are told you should work for, has given you a Mandatory Activity Notification letter.

The Government does not publish straightforward information for people on their rules about when or why you might be put on Mandatory Work Activity or what you can expect when they do.

Citizens Advice Bureau – government work schemes

Work Programme

The Work Programme is mandatory. You must do it if you Job Centre Adviser puts you on the programme or if you ask to be put on the programme or your benefits might be reduced or stopped.

You will be asked to go on the Work Programme:

  • after 9 months of getting Job Seekers Allowance if you between 18 and 24 years old;
  • after 12 months of getting Job Seekers Allowance if you are 25 years or older;
  • after 3 months if you started getting Job Seekers Allowance when you were 16 or 17 years old;
  • after 3 months if you have been getting Job Seekers Allowance for most of the last 2 years;
  • after 3 months of getting Job Seekers Allowance if you used to get Incapacity Benefit.

The Work Programme lasts for 2 years. You will have to do things like:

  • doing a  training course;
  • getting help with your CV;
  • going to job-search workshops;
  • going on a work placement in the community.

Choose one of the five options below to find more help in getting work

OPTION 1 Job Seekers Allowance Claimant Commitment

OPTION 2 Choosing a job or career move

OPTION 3 Where to look for jobs

OPTION 4 Local jobs and employment support

OPTION 5 How to apply for jobs

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