During your last term of year 12 the main task you are given is your personal statement. For some this is easy because they know exactly what they want to do and are extremely passionate about it. But for me, and many others, the prospect of choosing one subject to do for three years and working out the jobs it could lead me to was a difficult one. This is where work experience comes in. I was able to use a contact to gain work experience at Crush Design which allowed me to gain an insight in the marketing industry and see if it was area I would like to go into.
For me work experience gave me a chance to learn about things I wouldn’t learn at school and have things explained by people who have first-hand experience within the field. At Crush Design I was set a research task which involved finding out about different marketing methods. I then had to apply these to a real life scenario to see how different businesses need to market in order to get optimum results. This was particularly interesting as it demonstrated how big the marketing industry is and how much it can vary.
How else will we get to learn about real jobs?
Having spent a week at Crush Design I can understand that me being there does take up precious time. I get why so few companies offer up work experience chances. But this is a little plea to say, give us a chance. Yes we will bit a little green but there are simple things you can have us do.
- A small project e.g. a blog post….
- Show them the type of work you do on regular basis
- get them to research areas related to your work
- Ask them what type of jobs they would like to do and get them to research it
But regardless of what we get to experience just letting us in to your work place and talking to us will be more than we can learn at school about real work life and roles.
Why don’t more teenagers do work experience?
On the flip side I think school leavers like me do have negative stereotypes about work experience.
It starts with finding work placements which is tough for the reasons mentioned and a scary prospect. I had to spend hours emailing countless companies asking for work experience and there are no guarantees. Schools tend to offer no advice when it comes to getting summer work experience beyond recommending you do it. This means many students can be put off by not knowing how to write their cover letters and CV’s in order to apply.
It is also particularly hard to find work experience in places such as media and many people I know who didn’t get work experience in their desired area, but in hind sight they did not think to look anywhere else. I think there needs to be a greater understanding of the types of industries out there and what skills you can gain from them. For example students who want to be writers do not necessarily need to gain work experience at a newspaper but can gain skills in other sectors such as communications.
Fortunately for me my work experience at Crush Design was really good and this blog is evidence of my efforts. I have learnt worthwhile skills that will aid me in the future. My increased commercial awareness has definitely helped narrowing down my choices for future degree and consider marketing as a serious option. It has also influenced the way I look at companies as I now see the benefits in working for a small business. Next week I will be starting work experience at large company in the finance field and I am very interested to see how the two work experience will contrast.
I definitely think work experience is a really worth while project and would recommend that every teenager do it so they can gain a greater understanding of what types of jobs are out there and what they are best suited to. I really hope that more companies offer work experience and understand just how much students gain from it.