Meet the Work Experience Students
Learn about some of our work experience placements from those who have experienced one. While the placements themselves might differ, we aim to give everyone who experiences a work experience placement a similarly enlightening and rewarding experience:
What did you do during your work experience placement?
During my week at the Council I worked in a variety of areas to get a broad overview of the different roles and responsibilities that the Council has. For example, I attended various departmental meetings ranging from those focused on social care to those focused on running the fire service.
What were some of the highlights of your experience?
The main highlight of my time at the council was being involved in the JLT (Joint Leadership Team) meeting, in which I was asked to contribute by the lead councillor. This provided an interesting insight into how some of the key decisions are made. I also enjoyed meeting the Chief Executive, Nicola Beach, as I was able to gain a good idea of the vision that she has for the Council going forward as well as the key principles that she believes the Council should stand for. Another highlight was my work in communications in which I was interested by their use of behavioural economics to positively influence the behaviour of other employees.
What impact do you think the experience has had on you?
The experience was very valuable in helping me learn about the Council as a whole but also in allowing me to identify the areas that I am particularly interested in. During my time I think that my people skills definitely improved as I had to engage with a wide variety of different individuals during my time at the Council.
What impact do you think you have had on the organisation?
I can’t imagine that I have pulled up any trees but in my very short time at the Council but I hope I showed people that young adults are interested in what the Council does, as sometimes the assumption is that ‘we’ are disinterested in local politics.
What motivated you to apply for a position at the Council?
I applied for work experience because I wanted to gain experience working in the public sector in order to get a better idea of the challenges that the Council faces. I also like the fact that the Council’s work has tangible effects in the real economy, as having a job that can have a positive effect on the lives of the general public must be very rewarding.
What advice would you give to future applicants?
I would say that it is vitally important to research the principles that the Council stands for as from what I gathered they are really focused on creating a positive work atmosphere as well as some sense of equality despite the hierarchy e.g. the chief executive is very focused on being someone her workers can approach and interact with. I would also say that they need to be passionate about helping the general public, and it is important that this comes across during any interview.
Sophie Allen, HR at Suffolk County Council
How has your week with SCC changed your perception of work?
I would say that my perspective of the “big wide world of work” has changed massively. Before this week, I would say that I had slim to no knowledge of the type of employment opportunities and I never really fully understood what people do at work or the different types of jobs. Whereas now I would say that I have a new perception of work in a way, as I am discovering roles within HR which I never knew existed and I find that really interesting and would love to have an opportunity to do that in the future.
What have you enjoyed most about your work experience?
I really enjoyed the surprise factor of this whole experience because I never really knew about all these different teams which make up HR and the amount of work that would be done to ensure that everyone is happy, and the system is fair. For example, when I was in recruitment, I never fully understood what different factors went into jobs and the different pay roles and grade of jobs there would be, so this pleasantly surprised me. Furthermore, it has significantly increased my confidence levels and forced me out of my comfort zone where I am now communicating with others and learning all this new information I never knew existed or never fully understood.
Has this helped you gain a better idea about what you might do in the future?
I believe that it has, as before HR just seemed like this future career thought in the back of my mind which I knew would be interesting to discover more information on. In addition, it’s given me an insight into the different career paths I may take, such as supporting and helping others in the community.
What did you hope to get from the work experience?
Before this week, I hoped to gain some insight into what employees do within their jobs on a daily basis and to discover if it’s something I may want to do too. I certainly gained this and much more as I feel as if I’ve learnt so much from this experience, even little things like calling co-workers by their forename which is unnatural at school and allowed me to feel more comfortable conversing with them and made me feel more mature and confident as if I wasn’t being belittled in this environment.
Has it made you think about Apprenticeships, Internships or Graduate programmes in your future?
Yes, I would certainly look more into internships and graduate schemes in the future as I believe that this will really allow me to gain the skills and knowledge I would require from my future career choice while getting paid, which may make me feel more confident in my abilities in the future.