Work shadowing is when you observe staff performing key duties in the workplace. It can help you gain a better idea of what employment in a particular job or sector is like.
Work shadowing can also help you:
- develop commercial awareness
- understand the requirements and responsibilities of a particular role, which can help you tailor your applications for further experience or graduate jobs
- provide evidence of your motivation to work in the sector when applying for graduate jobs
- decide where your future career interests lie, especially if you manage to shadow more than one role
- make contacts within the sector and potentially arrange further work experience where you can take a more practical role
Finding shadowing opportunities
Work shadowing opportunities are not usually advertised. Instead, you could approach companies directly about shadowing a member of staff, usually for a day or two. Send them a tailored CV and covering letter, expressing your enthusiasm for the company and sector, and outline what kind of experience you would like to gain.
Where possible, identify a contact name to address your covering letter to. Call or email to find out who is responsible for recruitment within the organisation or a key contact in the department you want to work in.
It’s useful to follow up a speculative application with a phone call a few days afterwards to show you are serious and motivated.
It may be difficult, however, to arrange shadowing for certain roles where confidentiality or security is of high importance, for example, shadowing psychologists with a patient, or engineers working in defence companies.
- North East Graduate Directory – database of local organisations who offer work experience or accept speculative applications
- Researching employers – contains sources of company profiles and a list of business directories and databases
- Occupations – find employer directories for specific sectors
- LinkedIn – an online networking tool allowing users to connect with professionals across all industries
- LinkedIn's Find Alumni tool can help you find organisations Newcastle graduates are working in
Opportunities for Newcastle University students
Newcastle Hospitals Work Experience
Newcastle Hospitals Work Experience gives prospective medical students the opportunity to spend a day in the education centre observing a live-streamed operation, plus other medical exercises, followed by one or two days work shadowing a consultant.
The scheme is open to all Newcastle University students and priority will be given to those submitting a UCAS medical school application to start the following academic year.
Applications open in February for one week and the work experience takes place during the Easter vacation. Call in to the Careers Service to find out more.
First Year Work Shadowing
Gain a head start in your career planning through our First Year Work Shadowing scheme.
Getting a graduate job is competitive. Students are now expected to get relevant work experience, as well as achieving their degree. Gaining this experience can seem difficult if you’re not sure where to start, or what you want to do, or if you’ve had no previous experience at all.
Our week long programme offers first year students the chance to spend a day work shadowing one of five graduate employers in the North East. This is an opportunity to explore different career options available to you, and to find out what’s on offer locally.
First Year Work Shadowing week will take place during the Easter vacation, between Monday 27 – Friday 31 March 2017. To take part, you must be available in the North East for the whole week and attend all sessions.
Monday 27 March, 14:00 – 16:00. Making the most of your experience.
At this session, you will be assigned into your group. We will let you know what to expect on your placement and provide you with advice for making the most out of your time. You’ll also get tips on making an effective presentation at the end of the week. It’s a chance to meet the other people on the programme and ask any questions you might have.
Tuesday 28 – Wednesday 29 March. Placement.
Depending on which employer you have been assigned to, you will spend either Tuesday or Wednesday work shadowing at their site. The day will be split into two parts, giving you the chance to observe more than one aspect of their business.
Thursday 30 March. Preparation.
No formal activities are scheduled for this day. This is to give you the chance to meet up with your group and prepare your reflective presentation.
Friday 31 March, 11:00 – 13:00. Reflecting on what you have done.
The final day will bring you back to the Careers Service with your group to tell everybody in the programme about your experience. As well as a free lunch, you’ll get the chance to find out about what happened at the other organisations and the opportunity to meet their staff.
Opportunities will cover a range of roles in different sectors, including:
- marketing at Jump
- IT at Accenture
- engineering at British Engines
- local government roles in education and public health with Newcastle City Council
When making your application, you can rank your preference of which three employers you would like to be placed with. You may be offered a place with any one of those three employers.
Benefits of taking part
Benefits of taking part
- Get a better understanding of different graduate roles available and what they involve
- Stand out from the competition, through gaining experience early
- Gain experience with a top graduate employer
- Boost your CV with a range of skills and insight
- Develop contacts which could be useful for future opportunities
- Gain confidence in arranging further work shadowing
- Find out more about what’s on offer in the North East
- Learn to reflect on your experience and practise your presentation skills
- Be ready for second year applications for internships or placement years
You must be a first year student available to be in the North East during Monday 27 March – Friday 31 March. We particularly encourage applications from students who have little or no previous work experience.
Find out more
Find out more
To find out more about First Year Work Shadowing, or to discuss your application, visit the Careers Service.