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Work Experience Wednesday - Clinton Johnson

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As well as our longer-term Apprentices and graduate internship programmes, UKCES hosts a range of work experience placements for those at all stages of education - from school and sixth-forms as well as college and university. Over the last few weeks, we've been using the UKCES blog to highlight thoughts and reflections from some of the young people who worked with us this summer.

This week's Work Experience Wednesday blog comes from Clinton Johnson, a college student from south London who arranged work experience with us through IntoUniversity. Over to you, Clinton ...


It was a struggle waking up early since college had ended for the year. Upon arrival, me and fellow work experience student Charlie were given a warm welcome as we were introduced to a suave and bubbly young man named Tom [Nutland, trainee in our policy team]. After pleasantries and breaking the ice it was time to get down to business. Tom gave us our task to be completed by the end of the week, entitled Five Ideas for a Better Britain: we would have to write a 200-word and bullet-point list of five priorities to illustrate our big vision for the future of the UK.

Our immediate task for the day was to a briefing for a meeting about youth employment and earning and learning. At first it looked like this was going to be quite difficult as the paper was 48 pages long. Charlie and I decided to split the reading. He took his favoured geographical and economical sections, and I took my favored political and international sections. With this team work we knocked it out in no time and received high levels of praise for our efforts.

Overall I would say today was good and the tasks were engaging.  The briefing task bore resemblance to my current situation of trying to balance work with studying, and the effective teamwork between me and Charlie was good.


What an eventful and awe inspiring day it has been. On my manifesto task I had three solid ideas of what I wanted to change. Top of my list were: applying and collection council; transport links, especially in south London; and finally a remodeling of the education system.

This took me up to lunch where me, Tom and Charlie attended a briefing on the ‘Death of the Saturday Job’. Hearing the views from various companies and departments was very interesting. It gave me a broader view on what I had read.  When lunch was over came the highlight of the day and I dare say the whole week, a tour of the Houses of Parliament with Nicoletta [Paraskeva, coordinator in our project delivery team]. It was an amazing experience to learn about the history and traditions of the building, and I was intrigued to see just how small the Commons and Lords were. As a government and politics student the visit was unforgettable. Today was amazing.


At work today we looked at the UK Futures Programme, which invests in projects dealing with skills and employment opportunities for people. We had a meeting with Kate [Haseler-Young, manager in project delivery] about competitions 1 (off-site construction) and 5 (anchor institutions and small firms). I was intrigued to see just how UKCES are looking at pathways to career progression, skills deficiencies and productivity at local and regional levels.

Our task for the day was to write a press release for the fifth competition. We met Ken Manson [coordinator in communications], who eerily looked like my history teacher. He informed us on how to write a press release, giving us a couple of examples, then we met with Katherine Cottrell, the senior manager of competition 5. We were sent back to our desks with the task of writing up this press release before Ken reviewed it at the end of the day.

The day flew by. Before I knew it was 5pm. The task today was really insightful as writing a press release isn’t your average task in an English class. It allowed me to tackle new material and taught me the value of concise writing.


The SMF ‘Chalk and Talk’ event at lunch time was interesting to me as it analysed just what happened in the 2015 general election (I frantically made notes in preparation for next academic year’s G&P class). Charlie and I had just gone through our somewhat ritual of getting a hot chocolate at 3pm, we were approached by Ben Dixon [senior manager, policy team]. The guy just embodied enthusiasm, and he set us to work writing a briefing about the new National Living Wage and how it affects people and especially the retail industry.


Today we put the final touches on our blogs and manifesto challenge, then after that will be our individual interviews.

I found the mock interview useful, it’s nice to get some practice on such a crucial process which is used for almost everything. The feedback given was good too and gave a clearer format for answering those curveball questions.

The presentation of our manifestos couldn’t have gone any better. I felt that mine went really well and Charlie’s presentation was top notch too, but I would have to give the victory to myself (sorry Charlie).

One week felt so fast, and just as I was finally back to school mode it was all over, what a bummer. On the bright side it’s been a brilliant week. I’ve learnt so much from my week here, things I never gave much thought to. I thank UKCES and IntoUniversity for this opportunity.

Amazing stuff - thanks Clinton! Maybe I have a long-lost relative teaching history in Bermondsey.

More Work Experience Wednesday:

UKCES publications on work experience:

Let us know what you think on Twitter using #workexperiencewednesday or in the comments below. 

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