About work experience

A plumber is showing a student how to attach a u-bend pipe to a sink drain in a kitchen

We have the tools on how to make work experience a success

Getting involved in work experience programmes helps you find potential talent, showcases career pathways in your industry and raises your business profile.

You can find the work experience programme that’s the perfect fit for your business.

Work Inspiration

Work Inspiration is an employer-led work exploration programme tailored to suit your work environment and industry. A small group of students spend around three days in your workplace, experiencing the roles and career pathways you have to offer.

Careers New Zealand can support you to develop and deliver the programme.

Watch Work Inspiration in action

Watch high school students in action on Work Inspiration programmes with Toyota and Westpac (Video - 2:45 minutes).

Female student: It felt great, seeing all these people, how hard working they are, how much they love their job. It inspired me more to follow what I want to.
Wendy Toohey: It’s nice to be able to send them somewhere where they can actually just widen their horizons.
Ashleigh Collier: Back at school I had no idea what I wanted to do and all I wanted to do was get out and get some experience. It would have been such an awesome opportunity to be able to come in and see if it’s something I’d enjoy.
Pam Norris: They can get out of the classroom and actually see how the real world works and I’m sure a few of them would like to actually have a go at some of these jobs.
Male student: I thought it would be a really good opportunity for me to get to know about a business like this ‘cos this is a really successful business and I wanted to know what actually makes it successful.
Wendy: They went in with very little knowledge of what a working environment was about and they’ve come out with a huge knowledge, it’s just changed their whole focus completely.
Male student 2: I thought it would be a good experience for me to learn what kind of departments are in a business and how it runs. I’ll probably do servicing because I like the practical stuff.
Female student 2: I feel I’ve gotten a lot more confident over these last three days and I’m not afraid to ask questions.
Male student 3: Talking to customers and stuff like that I hadn’t really done anything outside of school towards business so that kind of built confidence up.
Dan Henderson: I think it’s really important that we don’t forget to connect the worlds of education and employment. So often schools and employers are working by themselves in their own silos so we actually need to bring those worlds together.
Michael Gapes: When they first came in they were shy and out of their comfort zone and it’s just amazing how quickly they’ve walked up. I can talk to them quite openly now.
Jane Stella: At the end of our celebration event we had one young girl walk up to the CEO and have a conversation about what would be the possibility of doing some work experience here and he agreed to it.
Rob Hunt: As an existing talent programme for your staff, this is a way which you can create leadership opportunities, engage them with students, and create value in your existing staff and the engagement they have with the students.
Dave Turner: If there is a need for recruitment, if there is a need for branding, if’s there is a need for improving your reputation, if there is a need to boost the morale of your staff, then Work Inspiration is a very good investment.
Rob Hunt: From a community perspective it’s a great thing to do, it feels good and we see the outcomes for both the students and schools as a result of the programme, so I think it hits a lot of markers.


Gateway enables Year 11 to 13 students to study for NCEA and tertiary credits and also work in a workplace. Students get a taste of what an apprenticeship is like as they take part in authentic work activities at your business.

A school’s Gateway co-ordinator or career adviser supports you to develop and deliver the programme.

Workchoice Days

On Workchoice Days you host a Year 12 student at your business for one day. The students watch a presentation and try different aspects of your job. These days usually take place in May.

A school’s Gateway co-ordinator or career adviser supports you to develop and deliver the programme.

Work shadowing

Work shadowing involves a student observing you or staff members while you work for a day.

Students can then ask about the career paths at your workplace and get advice and mentoring from you.

You can get help from a school’s Gateway co-ordinator, career adviser, a tertiary institute or your industry association.

Here are some successful examples of work shadowing:

Updated 25 Jan 2019