Seven tips for making the most of work experience

Seven tips for making the most of work experience

Embarking on a work experience journey can be both exciting and rewarding, but it's important to most of your time on the farm.​
It is important to make the most of your time when on a work experience placement.
It is important to make the most of your time when on a work experience placement.
It is important to make the most of your time when on a work experience placement.
It is important to make the most of your time when on a work experience placement.

Starting out with work experience in farming and agriculture can be exciting and rewarding. Whether you're taking your first steps into this diverse field or looking to expand your knowledge, making the most of your time on the farm is essential.​

That’s why we’ve created seven tips for a successful and enriching work experience. From doing your research to networking with professionals, these friendly pointers will help you gain valuable insights and set the stage for a thriving career in the agricultural and horticultural world.

1 Do your research

Before you begin your work experience, take some time to research the company or farm you’ll be working with. Learn about their practices or about the crops or animals they work with. This will help you understand the bigger picture and show your hosts that you’re keen to learn.

2 Tick, tock!

Arriving on time for your work experience is essential. It shows your host that you’re responsible and committed. Things happen, but if you’re running late or can’t attend on a particular day, call your host as soon as possible to explain the situation. 

By communicating any issues quickly, you’ll show that you can be professional and respect your host’s time.

3 Be curious

Don’t be shy to ask questions during your work experience. Being curious will help you understand more about how things work and show others that you’re interested. This is your opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and gain valuable insights into farming and growing. If you’re interested in a specific technique or want to know more about the day-to-day operations, your hosts will appreciate your enthusiasm. Remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question!

4 Health and safety first!

Always follow the guidelines and instructions your host organisation provides, and don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure about something. Make sure you wear suitable clothing and footwear. Invest in a good pair of wellies or sturdy boots. And don’t forget to wear layers so you can adjust to the unpredictable British weather. Some farms might have their own rules about clothing and footwear. It’s always a good idea to speak to the farm before you start and check if they have certain rules or provide any clothing or footwear.

Remember, safety comes first, so always wear gloves, helmets, protective eyewear, and any other recommended safety gear.

5 Shadow a colleague

When working on a farm, health and safety restrictions might sometimes limit your ability to participate in certain tasks, meaning you might shadow a colleague rather than get stuck in. This will allow you to observe the work being done, learn the processes involved, and ask any questions you might have. Remember tip number three: there’s no such thing as a stupid question!

6 Network with your team

While on your work experience, take the time to get to know the people you’re working with. Networking with professionals in the industry can lead to future opportunities and help you build valuable connections. Make an effort to engage in conversations, attend events or meetings, and show genuine interest in the people you meet. 

7 Reflect on your day

At the end of every day, take some time to reflect on what you’ve learned and the skills you’ve gained. A great way to do this is by asking yourself three questions, “What have I learned today? What do I want to learn more about? And what questions do I have from today that I’ll ask tomorrow?”. Once you’ve completed your work experience, consider how it might shape your future career choices and identify any areas where you’d like to learn more. If you enjoyed your time, consider thanking your hosts to thank them and express your interest in staying connected. You never know what opportunities can come from it. 

Making the most of your work experience is all about being proactive, engaged, and open to learning. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to discovering a fulfilling career in this diverse and exciting industry; who knows, you might uncover your dream job!

If you're looking to get your first job in farming and growing or taking your next step in the sector, we've collected a host of resources together to help you in our Employment toolkit. From the initial research to the interview preparation, we've advice and information to help you make the most of the employment opportunities ahead.

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