Securing work experience to support future university applications or career and employment ambitions may well be the 2013 New Year’s resolution for many teenagers. Youngsters often rely on parents to make this happen. However, being proactive in investigating and securing opportunities independently will result in a far better grasp of life and employability skills for the future.

Firstly, identify what you plan to achieve through the placement. Do you wish to understand more about a specific career, develop employability skills, independence and confidence, link school subjects of personal interest with a potential work environment or explore local job opportunities? Once your aims are decided, speak to your school to see if they have access to opportunities that meet your objectives. Let family and friends know what you are looking for in case they have contacts that can help.

Use the internet and local papers to research potential opportunities within your field of interest. Research the companies you have short-listed to approach thoroughly so you can appear knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Prepare a good CV highlighting your key interests, relevant experience and skills.

Make direct contact either by telephone or even better, by calling in with a copy of your CV. Explain briefly what you are seeking and ask who you might leave a copy of your CV with, should opportunities come up in the future. If possible ask for an appointment, so you can return at a more convenient time and tell them a bit more about yourself and what you can offer.

Persevere! You may have to drop off lots of CV’s to get the one opportunity you are looking for.