Each year, an increasing amount of high school students realize that applying for and working a learnership before attending university is a great way to get ahead of the game. Nothing trumps real-world experience, and you’re never too young to start if the right opportunity presents itself. While it may be a bit more challenging to land a job when you are younger than the average learnership-seeker, the benefits far outweigh any additional effort that had to be made.
- Completing a learnership as a high school student can really give you the leg up when it comes time to apply for university. Universities receive thousands of applications each school year from prospective students, each with their own unique argument as to why they deserve a coveted place on the new class roster. Great grades, extra-curricular activities, honors, clubs, personal and academic achievements; when most contenders have a competitive application, how do admissions administrators decide who stays and who goes? They look for unique experiences and balance. A high school student who worked a learnership will stick out as a motivated individual who doesn’t shy away from a challenge.
- Searching for jobs, updating your resume, writing a cover letter that sells, and interviewing are all tasks that you are going to have to endure throughout the duration of your professional life. Not on a regular basis, if you are lucky, but everyone must do it at some point. The earlier you learn how to do these things and the more you understand what employers are looking for, the bigger advantage you will have. Rather than trying to master the art of cover letter and resume writing in university (when it matters even more), why not nail it before you even get there? It can be an intimidating and stressful task, but the more practice you have, the easier it will be.
- In high school, many students either have no idea what profession or area of study they are interested, or, they are interested in so many things that they can’t make up their mind. This is normal and completely OK. You don’t HAVE to know that early. However, dipping your toes into different career pools will help define your interests so that you aren’t entering university completely blind. A high school learnership means identifying what area(s) may suit your long-term interests and goals, thus helping you choose a major and where to work next… without too much commitment. For example, you may decide to work as a general office learner at an event venue, only to find that you were really intrigued by the role of the marketing department. When it’s time to declare your major, you may join the business school with a concentration in marketing, and then apply for a marketing-focused learnership at another company in the future.
- When you are mid-way through your higher education and ready to take on a learnership during your summer off or a light semester, you’ll be able to say that you’ve already completed one. As the job sphere grows increasingly competitive, you really must pull out all the stops. While the point of a learnership is to be taught, employers will be more drawn to someone that isn’t a “start from scratch” project, if you will. Being able to apply the knowledge and skills you acquired while working your previous learnership(s) can only benefit them, and they know that.
- As we repeatedly stress, networking is essential to all aspects of your professional life. Your high school learnership could be one of the first places you consider when applying for one of your learnerships on a collegiate level. Working for the same company is not unheard of; in fact, it stands out in a way that working for multiple companies cannot. Note that you don’t have to work in the same capacity – you could work in an entirely different department. If a former employer is eager and willing to hire you for the second time, you did something right. It means that your first round was completed successfully and they are convinced that they can use you again. A re-hire on your resume will show future recruiters that you are a desirable candidate, and you have your network to thank for that.
- Starting early leaves more time to fill up your resume. By the time you graduate from university, you could have two, three… even four learnerships under your belt because you were proactive and worked as early as you could. This makes for a glowing resume, sure to catch the eye of any employer when you are on the hunt for a full-time job post-graduation.
- The more skills, the better. Gaining entry-level experience at an early age will make you a well-rounded employee and The time spent at your learnership will not only aid your professional life, but your studies as well. You could become a better writer, which would help with school essays, projects, college applications, cover letters and more. You could learn how to write formulas in Microsoft Excel, which can help you perform complicated math problems, analyze data, and organize any type of information. Your public speaking skills could improve, which would help your class presentations, general conversations with teachers and other superiors, and even your valedictorian speech at graduation. The more real-world, professional experience we have, the more successful we will be in all aspects of life.
High school learnerships are a strategic way to prepare for college and career. Strengthen your college applications, gain and refine your skills, and be confident in your choices, because nothing bad can come out of starting early. Don’t be afraid that your lack of experience will work against you because everyone has to start somewhere!