Year 11 Work Experience 2014
Our career-minded students got a long-awaited taste of the real world when they embarked on a week of work experience. Their placements were intended to provide them with an introduction to a working environment and all that comes with it, including behaving maturely alongside their adult colleagues in an unfamiliar, professional setting.
The wide variety of job choices - ranging from solicitors to doctors to retail to restaurant work and everything in between - shows the diversity of Year 11's skills and interests. We received extremely positive feedback from the host employers and are proud of how well our students represented the academy.
A selection of students were happy to share their stories below:
Anithya Balachandran was a journalism intern at Asian Voice, the biggest Asian newspaper in Europe and a global publication. Her main duties were writing and researching articles.
What kind of topics did you cover in the articles?
Some of them were current affairs and some of them were public interest subjects like the case of an incompetent doctor. On my fourth day I got sent to a press conference in the House of Commons which was boring but it was good to learn how things work and how you act as a journalist outside your office. The press conference was about a political issue re: India but it was a pre-meeting as they will be discussing it in the assembly this week.
Have you thought more about going into the media industry after your enjoyable week?
Yes because it was fun being out in the field but in the office it tends to get tedious just writing articles and proof-reading. But I like the other side of it which is advertising and media because I was also in the office with the department that deals with that. So I would like to get more insight into that.
Tell us more about the advertising side?
In the newspaper you have certain adverts and their job is to finalise out how much those adverts are going to cost and how they get edited into the newspaper. You would decide things like: are they relevant for the target audience or not.
Andrei Bogdan worked at a Financial Advisory Service as an administrative trainee. The firm deals with life insurance, pensions, mortgages and ‘helps people decide how to spend or invest their money.’ His duties included filing, data input into the computer, extracting data and processing legal forms.
Was it something you might like to go into in the future?
Now, yes I would actually consider it because it is easy to learn; my supervisor only worked there for one year and she was a professional. I would want to be involved in mortgages because I heard they are interesting and want to learn more about that e.g. advising people to save up a certain amount of money for their mortgages and how they could do that. There was a budget calculator that I used in Excel which was really fun.
What did you take from the experience?
I took the aspect of being an adult because they didn’t treat me as a child; I was working in the office with them as part of the team. Working with adults in general I would know how to speak with an adult now in a formal way and in a working environment.
Were there any drawbacks or aspects that you didn’t like?
I got piled with lots of work so when my supervisor told me to do one thing, another person would tell me to do something else and I lost track of my work but it was fine in the end. It was the prioritising I found difficult.
Were the company pleased with your performance?
Yes, they said they liked me from the moment that I stepped into the room. My supervisor said it and the others in the office agreed with her. I think it was because I dressed correctly and said ‘Good morning’ and ‘Hello’, you just have to be polite. I smiled a lot – they said I am a very smiley character!!
I received a recommendation letter from my supervisor which will be very helpful with my future jobs as they said ‘Andrei is very organised and does his work well.’
Keliesha Cheese worked in Happy Star Day Nursery which had two sections; the babies that were a few months old to 1 year old and then the 1-and-a-half to 5 year olds. She liked both but enjoyed the 1-and-a-half to 5 year olds more. Her duties were ‘mainly playing with them, teaching them their ABCs, singing games and painting.’
What did you enjoy most about the experience?
Singing the nursery rhymes!
Well you must still know all the words!
No they’re different from when I was younger, they’re really different.
Do tell us! Do you want to sing one?!
‘Twinkle twinkle chocolate bar, Keliesha drives a rusty car, push the pedal, pull the brakes, off she goes in a cloud of smoke. Twinkle twinkle little star, Keliesha drives a rusty car.’
Anything you weren’t expecting? Any drawbacks?
There was more of ‘let’s go and wash your hands’, helping them set up for lunch, helping them share their lunch and things like that. I thought it would be more play but it was more reading and getting them to understand their alphabets or counting to ten.
There are certainly some entertaining characters at the nursery....
This little boy, he had gone into the toilet was screaming. And he couldn’t say my name properly but he called out for me - he had flushed his book down the toilet! He wasn’t meant to go in the toilet with his book either! I didn’t want to put my hand in the toilet, so I called one of the senior members of staff and she just put her hand straight in there and pulled it out. And I thought ‘Hmmm, better her than me!’ The boy just wanted his book, to play in the toilet and I don’t understand how you play in the toilet but…OK!’
Is your ambition to work with children?
It’s my second one. I want to be a forensic scientist but the NHS don’t do work experience so I got my second option which was the nursery.
Why have you chosen that career?
I think it was from when I was younger and I used to watch things like CSI and Body of Proof with my mum and I thought ‘That’s really cool I would like to do that!’ so it has just been something that has stuck with me ever since I was younger. I need at least Biology and Chemistry or Physics, at A Level - two sciences and a maths and then I can do whatever I like.