Guest Blog: Work Experience Helped Me Grow by Lucy Niblock
Offering work experience doesn’t have to be a drain on your company’s resources. It is obviously beneficial to the
graduate or college-leaver, but also often hugely satisfying for you as you provide priceless experience to the young person. I have gained invaluable experience, and so I am going to run through four of the main benefits of paid work experience. whom TJPP had kindly given eight week’s worth of paid work experience with a summer internship. This blog entry will hopefully encourage other employers to offer similar opportunities to young people.
Affirming career choice: Working with TJPP has allowed me to make an informed career choice, whilst gaining relevant experience which aids me in job interviews and on application forms. Doing an internship with TJPP has not been my first work experience. In fact, it has been a journey for me which really began a couple of years ago. As a person who has always enjoyed writing, I had thought that I would like to be a journalist. However, after undertaking work experience at a local newspaper, I realised that this was not the career path for me, as it did not allow me to get my creative juices flowing. It was at this stage that I began to think more in terms of advertising or marketing as a career. The experience which I have gained with TJPP has affirmed that at this stage in my life, a marketing career is the direction in which I want to travel.
Transition into the work-place: My various work experience ventures have given me the opportunity to work from 9am-5pm in a professional environment, interacting with other adults in a professional manner. This is an experience which can only be practised in the work-place. My university education had already instilled in me a disciplined and motivated approach to my work, but there is a general view that university work is undertaken in a non-urgent setting and possibly at the crack of dawn (!). Therefore, for some young people it may be daunting to think of working in a structured environment, five days a week. Work experience provides an ideal way of breaking someone in to this routine.
Opportunity to shadow: To be given the opportunity to see a professional in my field of interest at work, has been priceless. I have been given many chances to attend business breakfast meetings, meetings with clients and Chamber of Commerce meetings. I have taken advantage of almost all of these opportunities, and have found them sometimes daunting, but endlessly useful. In some of these meetings, my input would have been inappropriate (i.e client meetings), whilst others have provided a chance to ‘see how the professionals do it’ and then have a go myself. This is been a huge learning-curve, and has finally given me the courage to speak confidently with business people in a business environment. Not only has this been an important networking skill to develop, it has also provided experience for business situations in a permanent role.
Surprise me and I’ll surprise myself!: A great thing about undertaking work experience, is that the experience had will vary from agency to agency. Some pleasantly unexpected experiences which I have had with TJPP have included the following; firstly, I did not expect to be involved in a marketing campaign during my first week. This was a very exciting hook-in for me, and even though it proved challenging, it allowed me to prove my potential to others and myself. I was also pleasantly surprised by the trust which was placed upon me, as it increased my self-respect and self-belief to feel that others saw me as responsible and capable. Also, from the word ‘go’, I was immediately encouraged to appear as a face of the company, by answering the phones and greeting people at events, which has been a great thing to practice. Each of these surprises also resulted in a personal learning curve as I was able to assess my own strengths and areas which need to be improved.
A final ‘surprise’ for me when working with TJPP has been how quickly my education takes a back-seat as work experience becomes of much greater importance. Ultimately, employers are faced with hundreds of graduates with similar qualifications to me. My exposure to the working world has increased my employability, and my appetite for a career in marketing.
I am endlessly grateful to TJPP for the experience that they have given me, and the lessons that they have taught me. I hope that after reading this blog entry, you too feel that you could make a space for a graduate in your company, whether for a week or longer.
NB: Lucy has since landed a permanent role as a Marketing Assistant at a leading Design & Marketing agency in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.