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My work experience at SSAT

In the last few weeks schools up and down the country have been giving year 10 students opportunities to experience the world of work. Meaningful WE placements give young people a chance to learn about different roles in the workplace, develop a range of skills and personal qualities to enrich learning and support personal development. One student who gained a unique insight into the world of work spending a week at SSAT is Emily.

I was so pleased to find out I could do my work experience with SSAT. It was very easy and quick to organise which was very stress-relieving as others in my class were finding it very hard to find good placements within the deadline (which the school had to keep extending!). I had organised the work experience back in November 2016 and couldn’t really focus on what it would be like as I had been so occupied with my mocks. I was a little nervous and had no idea what to expect.

I received my timetable for the week, which was very helpful and made me excited for the days to come. The timetable also helped make sure I got to see every part of the company and learn new skills.

On Monday morning I had a briefing with the head of HR, then a health and safety induction, an office tour, an IT induction and finally a meeting with the chief executive. In the afternoon I worked with the project team giving administration support. On Tuesday I learnt about the work of the relationship managers and then marketing and communications. I spent some time trying to understand how to post something on the website.

Wednesday and Thursday I spent with the graphic design team. I could not believe how much planning and thought went into the design of things. My task was to help redesign the new lead practitioner certificate. The designers showed me how to approach this and helped me every step of the way. I started by researching designs on the web, then drawing by hand different designs, then using the graphic software. This was constantly being reviewed – even the font size and colour were important to how the final thing looked. I was really pleased with the final design. In fact I realised how much I had learnt when I started noticing that kind of detail when watching an advert on the TV that night!

I could not believe how much planning and thought went into the design

Finally, I spent Friday with the project team, again with some writing and reflection time. When I hear stories of some of my friends being given minimal help and training on their work experience, I realise how excellent my week has been and how much I have learnt. All the teams were helpful and very lovely to me, and hopefully I was as helpful to them.

This week was very enjoyable. It was nice to see and feel what an office environment was like as I have never been in one long enough to know how it feels. Also it was very nice to meet all the staff at SSAT as they were very kind and caring.

Work is very different to school.  For example: the day lengths vary for different people. (some staff arrive at 8am and leave early, others arrive later and leave later), you can go out for food (at lunch). I loved being able to find different places to buy food in this area-bit more choice than school dinners!  This experience has helped me develop many skills and has improved skills I already had. For example time management: I managed to get there on time every day, even when I missed my train or it got cancelled. I also had a taste of a typical work commute, which I didn’t enjoy too much but I’m glad I got to experience it.

I had to organise my time and make sure I finished tasks. – I like being organised, so I found this enhanced what I can do already. Most importantly for me, it has helped my communication and social skills and improved my confidence.

It has helped my communication and social skills and improved my confidence

I finally got my head around emails (I can now attach documents, and can create suitable subjects!). I have also learnt how to make a professional spreadsheet, and learnt a bit about graphic design (which was very interesting, and fun).

Work experience is very important and all students should get the opportunity to do it. We have employers come in and talk to us, but being immersed and experiencing it is totally different. I felt grown up. It really gives an insight/a taste of what work is really like and prepares you for the real world.

Thank you to everyone at SSAT – can I come back?

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