A career taster is usually unpaid, short-term work that gives you an opportunity to gain skills, confidence and experience and makes it easier for you to move towards a paid job.
Available career tasters are:
- student/undergraduate placements
- graduate internships
- work placements
- voluntary work.
We work closely with local colleges and learning providers, and you may need to undertake some training either before, during or after your placement.
We are particularly keen to help people who are recognised as facing a barrier to employment, such as age, health conditions or long-term unemployment.
This scheme does not cover work experience placements for school children.
2 What are the benefits?
Undertaking any kind of career taster or voluntary work can help you progress your career in many ways. Examples include:
- learning new skills and practising existing skills
- becoming more confident
- improving your CV with work experience and examples from the workplace, which can be shared in a job interview
- showing an employer you are reliable
- picking up good ideas and making contacts
- gaining a referee and reference for future job applications
- giving something back to your community by sharing your skills.
You will be assigned a buddy or mentor who will make sure you have the information required to carry out your job and answer any questions you may have.
3 What do we expect from you?
During a career taster placement we will expect you to:
- be committed to succeed in your placement
- follow West Sussex County Council rules and procedures given in your induction, and seek advice when unsure
- be a team player
- accept responsibility for your learning and ask for support when needed
- be motivated and willing to develop your job skills
- attend work and any identified training courses
- follow reasonable instruction and tasks set by your manager and buddy, mentor or coach.
4 Application process
You may be asked to attend an interview before you start, depending upon the type of career taster. You may also be invited in to meet people working on that team so you can get a feel for the career taster on offer.
We will need to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check if your placement involves:
- working with adults in regulated settings
- working with children and young people and your work is unsupervised
- working in a limited number of establishments.
If you apply as a 'self referral' (not through a Jobcentre Plus programme, college or university), and your role involves access to our IT systems, it will be necessary to obtain a reference and proof of identity, to show you are entitled to work in the UK.
Hours and length of placement
Hours worked each week can be flexible and will be set according to both your and your placement's requirements. State clearly on your application your preferred working hours and length of placement. We would expect you to work the exact hours agreed and be reliable and committed to them. If your placement is through an agency or educational establishment they might stipulate the length of placement required.
We will offer to refund any out-of-pocket expenses you incur as a result of undertaking unpaid work for us, unless you are advised otherwise.
Health, safety and welfare
The health, safety and welfare of anyone who works for us is taken very seriously. You will be advised how to work in your job safely and you must abide by this guidance. The County Council has insurance in place to cover any eventuality.
When you finish your career taster ask the manager in the area in which you were working for a reference.
5 Apply for a career taster
Career taster opportunities are available in the WSCC Job Search (select 'Career Taster' from the 'Contract type' field).Career taster opportunities (external link)
To apply, send your CV with a covering letter or email explaining which career taster you wish to apply for and in which area of West Sussex. We cannot guarantee placements as this is dependent on availability.
If you are on benefits, you must inform Jobcentre Plus if you are accepted on a career taster scheme. More information is available on GOV.UK.
6 Other opportunities
Please see our volunteering section for more opportunities.
Your local district council will also offer workplace opportunities, for example in leisure centres or housing. For more information visit their websites: