Work experience is a way for a student to find out what job they want to do and gain relevant experience. Recruiters look for people with initiative, who have taken the time and made the effort to get this sort of experience - it shows that you are serious about the job.
Additionally, employers are increasingly using work experience and placements as a way to find suitable candidates for vacancies, and many recruiters have highlighted that graduates who have had no previous work experience are unlikely to be successful when applying for jobs or graduate programmes.
A recent High Fliers report of the graduate recruitment market indicated that 31% of recruiters intended to fill their graduate roles with people who had already worked for their company, so getting relevant work experience really could be your first step into your future career!
A full copy of this report can be downloaded here.
For this reason, work experience places are highly competitive and applying for work experience can be almost as complex and challenging as applying for a full-time job or graduate scheme, especially if the placement is paid.
For advice on applications, see Applying for a job.