https://ukces.blog.gov.uk/2013/03/18/my-work-experience-week-with-ukces/

My work experience week with UKCES

First day of work experience,

6:45 Alarm went off
6:46 Woke up
6:48 Went back to sleep
7:10 Woke up again
7:14 Got up

From Hackney there are a number of ways to get to Westminster, but as a person that doesn’t frequently use the underground I, like many people, just did what mum said: get the 106 to Finsbury Park and then Victoria line to Green Park and Jubilee Line to Westminster. Although complicated sounding, it is a fairly clear-cut route.

At reception I was met by Reema, a member of the UKCES team, and headed to the sixth floor. My first assignment was to research how different companies recruit young people. Although this sounds straightforward it took me the entire day to complete. This task was surprisingly interesting; I know from my own experience that finding work experience placements whist you are still at school (GCSE level) is difficult.

Many talented students end up getting work placements in small local shops because they did not have contacts in Canary Warf or Westminster. This was reflected by the research I conducted; the few opportunities that existed for school-aged students were highly competitive and within central London.

Tuesday 19th February 2013: Day Two

Day two, I was introduced to Michelle. She gave me an overview of all the very important people in the Commission (Commissioners). They’re so important they have their pictures on a poster in a picture frame! After that, my task for the day was to look over articles to do with youth unemployment and apprenticeships. I had to condense entire articles into fewer than 140 characters so it could be tweeted. After spending much time on page 1 of Google News with not much success, I turned to Page 2 which was surprisingly a lot more useful (I didn’t know people ever turned to page 2).

This task was interrupted for lunch; I had some sort of fish which was okay. Lemon cheesecake was a bit dodgy, though. Excessive amounts of grated lemon peel.
After lunch, I went to a filming session for Investors in People. They were filming promotional material for an upcoming conference. The video was to promote the conference and encourage businesses and cooperation to attend.

Before I left for the day, Michelle and I looked over the tweets I had come up with. Despite most of my tweets being approximately 150 characters we managed to get each tweet to or below 140. My favourite has to be “[Combining] On-the-job training and academic study... [greatly motivates] apprentices to stay with us” - (Nigel Whitehead BAE Systems), probably because it took the most effort. Getting an article condensed to a sentence is hard, especially when A-Levels require writing and extensive essays each week.

Wednesday 20th February 2013: Day Three

Wednesday was really all about making sure this blog was completed, it was fairly relaxed and I liked that. I could concentrate on writing for almost the entire day, something I really enjoy. Around 12:00pm Thomas from Investors In People took me to London School of Economics (LSE). There we met Leanne also in the Investors In People team. It was good to get out of the office and walking about, it didn’t have to be for very long.

Thursday 21st February 2013: Day Four

I was with the Investors in People. I was introduced to Ian, he was my point of reference for the day. My first task was to find the Key Facts part of the Investors and people website and rewrite the page so it was more explicitly stating what Investors in People is. This task wasn’t exciting, but it did test my writing skills. I had to alter my language and writing style to suit a business environment, as well as getting straight to the point rather than articulating via decorative expression. Next was lunch. Beef lasagne (well I hope it was beef) - quite nice.

After lunch, I had a meeting with Paul, the head of Investors In People. He told me a bit about his life and how he became a part of Investors in People. The afternoon was mostly spent preparing for a mock interview for Friday. I had to go through the same interview the recent graduates went through to become interns. A mock interview is good experience– a fact that I’m going to talk about in my interview.

Friday 22nd February 2013: Day Five

So here I am, it’s Friday already! Currently preparing for the interview, I think I’ve done enough, it should be okay. In fact, almost everything I’m going to say is in a very neatly presented booklet that the UKCES have brought together, called ‘The Youth Employment Challenge’.

The interview went really well. I enjoyed it. I got some good tips and helpful insight into how I could have further enhanced my answers. Lunch was fish and chips, followed by jelly. I am the first ever work experience student at UKCES. I would consider this placement to be very successful, I have really enjoyed it , it would be great if other businesses did the same, but for a longer period of time of course.

I enjoyed meeting and working with new people, I got to sit on a range of different teams. I also liked the diversity; there were a range of ages, races and a good mixture of both men and women. Everyone I met was welcoming and friendly, and it was a very nice environment to work in. I also got to leave the office and visit other sites.

I have learnt a lot about the different universities that many people attended, and what they learnt and benefited from them. As I am intending to go to university myself it was very interesting to hear different people’s opinions – many of whom had only recently graduated.

Mahalia Changlee
Sixth Form Student

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