Take on work trials and work experience to find a role you’ll love

29 June 2022

Take on work trials and work experience to find a role you’ll love

Do you have little or no work experience in the field you want to work in? Or, have you not worked for a long time? If so, it might be a good idea to start with work experience or a work trial. It can be a great way to get ahead in a competitive job market. Employers often want people with experience, and that’s exactly what this offers.

There are a few great reasons to do a work trial or work experience before taking on a job. These include:

  • proving to an employer you can do the role
  • show the employer your work ethic – you’re reliable and punctual
  • applying your skills to the actual role
  • using the experience on your resume
  • increasing your chances of getting the job you want with real experience
  • talking with confidence about your suitability to the role requirements
  • sampling different work options
  • networking with people in the roles and the hiring managers
  • showing your interest in the industry
  • understanding your strengths and weaknesses and how they come out in the role
  • thinking about what you enjoy in the role and why; as well as any other training you might need to succeed.

Take a look at three examples of where our customers sought out work trials or work experience. They got that all-important experience, showed their initiative and secured a role.

Ben was long term unemployed before a two-week work experience stint secured him a role

He left school in 2003. After going through programs of support for 7 years, Ben decided to undertake a Diploma in IT. He graduated with a Diploma in Networking (IT) in 2010. Life, anxiety and lack of motivation got in the way of finding his first job in the industry. Before Ben knew it, it was 12 years later and he’d been out of work the whole time. Ben has support from the CoAct / Worklink Cairns team, Jason and Michelle. He began with two weeks of paid work experience. They found an employer who was open to taking Ben on for two weeks of training and work experience. The employer didn’t expect to offer him a role. They then offered him a role which he started the very next day. “I can see something in Ben, I reckon I can train him” said Thomas, his employer. His role is in IT support. He’s now been there for over ten months. He’s working 32 hours a week.

Taking a chance pays off for Zen and his employer

Zen undertook his first job trial, which didn’t work out. It brought some challenges to his mental health and confidence. His employment consultant, Amy spent some time working on building back his mental strength and energy. Zen worried he’d let her down, but she reassured him that she was there to support him.

“We found a job ad on Gumtree for a local business, Made to Fit Gates. The business owner Luke was looking for someone to take on a sheet metal apprenticeship. It sounded like a great fit so we messaged Luke asking if there was a good time to drop his resume off. He called straight back asking Zen to come in the next morning.” “We acted fast. I picked him up took him to meet Luke, he had an interview on the spot and got the job there and then!”

Zen did a job trial for a few weeks. He progressed to his sheet metal apprenticeship which he is currently doing. Zen’s experience shows that with the right support and the right role, success is possible.

Planning, pivoting and persistence paid off for Kieran

Kieran had his sights sets on a rail industry Station Assistant role and was willing to do anything he could to get it. But Covid hit and recruitment stopped. During this unusual time, together with his employment consultant, they set a short-term goal. To find a role that gave him income, work experience and met his Centrelink requirements. So then he could have his longer term goal in his sights while waiting.

This led to a job with a mechanic in his area, where he started working one day a week. It met the requirements and was a great opportunity for him to gain some skills in mechanics. These skills would also be valuable for a future in the rail industry. While working, we helped Kieran with his long-term goal of edging closer to his chosen career. For six months, he sent emails and made phone calls. He kept a close eye on the employer’s website for any news about recruitment. He made sure that his application was kept active and updated. Then Covid restrictions eased, big companies started recruiting again and the recruiters in this instance knew that Kieran was still keen. Now Kieran is working in the role he has wanted for years.

Thinking about a work trial or work experience?

Chat to your employment services team so that they can coach you through the best approach.

Illustration of staff member sitting at her work desk

Subscribe to the my JobCoach newsletter:

We can help you navigate the world of work with the latest job search tips, news and updates direct to your inbox each month.

Acknowledgement of First Nations Peoples

CoAct acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay our respects to the peoples, the Cultures and the Elders past, present and emerging.

Diversity and inclusion

CoAct is committed to embracing diversity and inclusion by providing an inclusive service and work environment. We welcome everyone, irrespective of age, sex, gender, sexuality, culture, religion, size and ability.


We are committed to ensuring accessibility for people with disability. This includes digitally, in the workplace, and on the path to work. Online we continue to improve the user experience for every visitor by applying and upholding accessibility standards.
© 2024 CoAct