TV presenters Adam Henson and Oti Mabuse show the pros of a beneficial qualification

It takes six months to settle into the world of work after landing your first job, according to research. 

A poll of 2,000 workers found starting their first role left many feeling ‘overwhelmed and ‘out of their depth’, meaning it took months for them to feel comfortable in the workplace.

But 44 per cent of those who had some form of industry experience before landing their first full-time role said it helped them build confidence.

Nearly three in 10 (28 per cent) developed a vital skill set from the hands-on experience, and the same number felt it helped them understand the importance of teamwork, while 24 per cent felt more on top of their time management, and 13 per cent were provided with key networking opportunities.

The research was commissioned to raise awareness of T-levels, a two-year, career-focused qualification for 16 to 19-year-olds, which is equivalent to three A-levels and includes a 45-day industry placement.

TV presenters Adam Henson and Oti Mabuse have joined ‘the T-Team’ to highlight the benefits of the qualification.

Oti, who is supporting the engineering and manufacturing T-levels, said: “I started out my career in engineering, having studied it at university. Although I decided to become a dancer, the transferable skills and experience I gained while working were invaluable and really built up my confidence when I decided on a career change.

“I credit my ability to problem solve, something I’ve used throughout my career, to my training in engineering. Having spoken to engineering T-level students, I’m blown away by how the curriculum has evolved and how much more accessible on-the-job experience is through industry placements.”

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The big world of work

The study went on to find three-quarters of those polled believe they gained valuable skills from learning on-the-job - something academic learning didn’t provide them. These included adaptability (27 per cent), communication (26 per cent) and problem solving (19 per cent).

In fact, 44 per cent believe their academic learning didn’t prepare them at all for real-world work situations. As a result, 37 per cent believe they would have settled into their first job quicker if they’d had prior industry experience, and 85 per cent of people who have done on-the-job experience would be likely to recommend it to someone about to enter the working world.

In hindsight, 28 per cent of all respondents would have pursued additional internships or work placements before securing their first full-time role, while 37 per cent still consider ongoing professional development and continuous learning very important in their current career.

TV presenter Adam Henson, who champions the agriculture, anvironmental and animal care T-levels, added: “Hands-on experience doesn’t need to be in someone’s chosen industry to be helpful in their future career.

“It equips young minds with practical skills, resilience, and a deep understanding of the entire professional landscape. Today's employers seek more than degrees, they seek competence and adaptability and industry placements offer T-level students the opportunity to thrive and develop these skills in a workplace setting.

“I was lucky enough to get stuck into my career path at an early age, having grown up on a farm, but for young people who don’t have these opportunities, T-levels open up those options for them.”

To find out more about the T-team experts, see employer and parent testimonials, and access free resources click here.

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