This summer we opened the doors to a number of work experience students, fresh from GCSE exams and eager to take a peek at the corporate world that awaits. Their arrival prompted some hilarious conversations internally around where we, at 16, were ‘sent’ by the careers advisors attached to our schools.
Rozie Rhodes sat her GCSE French only to find her petrified young self making multi lingual customer announcements over the public announcement system of P&O ferries whilst Senior Associate Paul Warburton worked for the distribution company TNT, loading and unloading vans, something he must have excelled at as he subsequently returned in the summer holidays on a casual basis to work for them again (we shall remember this skill for our pending office move Paul). Louisa Phillips toured the different departments in a Doncaster hotel and still smiles enthusiastically when she talks of it. Personally I went to the Natwest Bank in Manchester where I processed more cheques than I knew existed in the world and the highlight of my fortnight was dressing in my PJ’s for work for Children In Need along with the staff at the bank whilst Catherine Henry worked for a law firm and that two week period confirmed that she would not pursue a career in law!
I think its really important to have an element of real work experience as you make the transition from child to adult. I think it’s the small things, having to plan your public transport journey to ensure you arrive on time every day and gaining an understanding there is an etiquette surrounding who takes which lunch slot and when to ensure appropriate cover. The simplest of things that we forget having a ‘number’ shall we say of years’ experience in the world of work.
Our work experience students also sat in our End Of Quarter Business Review meeting along with the whole the business, giving them a snapshot of how all the individual parts of the business that they experienced exist to feed the larger business plan and how what we do each day, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant is key to our success.