This blog post has been written by our most recent work experience student, Brithney, where she outlines the week she spent with us.
‘When I had found out that I had work experience at an organisation which I had not heard of before, I was a little anxious, wondering what the week would have in store for me. Having already completed some work experience in several different places before, I had an idea of what I may be doing. Little did I know that this would have been the most informative, effective and interesting week that I have ever had.
On the first day, I remember being very nervous. I was given my timetable for the week and saw that I would be experiencing each department at the head office. I remember wondering what type of tasks I would be given throughout my week here, as in my previous work experience placements I had only been in one department for the entire week, so this was something completely new to me.
Upon arrival I was immediately greeted by Louise, the Learning and Development Officer, who also helped bring this whole work experience together for me. I was slightly caught off guard by how friendly she was, due to me having a ‘stereotypical’ idea of what people within the Corporate ‘world’ would be like. As soon as I walked in, I was actually so impressed by how friendly, warm and kind all of the employees were to me.
I was surprised, as, like I said before, I had an idea of what people within a corporate environment would be like and the fact that it was completely different from what I had in my mind was so pleasing. Whilst being a friendly group of people they were also professional, efficient and experienced, doing the tasks which are set for them whilst maintaining a friendly environment, which most would be happy to work in.
The first day I had the roles of being a Receptionist and experiencing the Operations and Home Care department. I felt that I had already learned many skills and unlike most of the other work experience placements I have gone to, I actually felt like I was experiencing the work which people within that role usually do. In terms of being a Receptionist, I was answering phones, directing customers to the department which they wanted to speak to, stamping letters, letting people inside the building, signing off orders and many other tasks.
In terms of the Operations and Home Care department, I was asked to go out to one of the services which Select Lifestyles have and see the type of work that they do with their service users. This included how they support their staff and how they ensure that their Service Users are okay, what can be improved, what their strengths are and what changes might need to be made. The fact that this was all within just three hours, made me realise that this work experience is really time efficient as not only did I learn a lot, but I felt that I was already building and achieving important skills. At this point I knew that from this work experience I would learn many transferable skills, that would benefit me when I eventually begin my own career.
The second day I was with the Human Resources and Business Development departments. I was given an extensive explanation on what each department does, and within Human Resources, I sat in some interviews and wrote notes on the candidates that were being interviewed. I was also included in making the decision on whether they could be employed or not and learned a lot about the type of people which are usually recruited. It was also interesting seeing how much time fathers could apply for, in terms of paternity leave and how it differs from maternity leave, as before, I had not known that information. I was able to develop an understanding on the duties which Human Resources cover, which allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what Human Resources actually is.
The third day, I was with Finance and Training. For both departments, I was given an extensive explanation on what each department does and in terms of finance, I applied to my first housing benefit. It was very interesting seeing how it is applied for and the type of financial backing people may get from the Government. Before this work experience, I was slightly unsure on how people, especially those with physical or mental disabilities, are supported. In terms of training, I was tasked with printing off certificates for people who had completed their training and file them within their folders. I sat in a meeting, which allowed me to have an extensive understanding on what usually happens in meetings, what is usually discussed and how they can reach a solution. I was then given an exclusive training course like other Select Lifestyles staff members were given, which was also very interesting and informative.
The fourth day I was in the Administration and Estates and Maintenance departments. Both staff members were extremely friendly and gave me an extensive explanation on what both departments do within their roles. In terms of Administration, I had started filing away some information which staff members within the company would use. I was also taught how to use a laminator and binder, which was actually very interesting and efficient, as I needed to use it the following day. I was shown how to do minutes (a written record of a meeting or a hearing) for a meeting and shown an actual example of one. In terms of Estates and Maintenance, I was tasked with putting certificates and documentation within particular folders which were allocated to staff members. After this, a staff member and I went out to buy something as a replacement for one of the services which Select have for their service users, then went to the house and I was shown how they replace items effectively. Along the way, I was also given an explanation on the houses which had been maintained and designed by the Estates and Maintenance department.
On the final day, I was with the Health and Safety and Sales and Marketing departments. In Health and Safety, their duties were explained to me, and I was handed the task of laminating certain documents which the department needed doing. In terms of Sales and Marketing, I had already been going to this department various times during the week, especially as the staff members knew that Marketing would be my preferred career choice, which I was thinking of undertaking in the future. We performed various tasks, such as finding places of interest near each building which Select has, places in which the Marketing department could put up banners for in order to advertise that the company is currently recruiting. We also had been given a survey to find out information on staff members at each of the services. The survey included asking questions to some service users, support staff, deputies and managers to get their feedback on various aspects of Select for internal research and review.
Overall, I can say that the week went very quickly, and I learnt a lot of information not only about the departments but about myself as well. For example, I remember being adamant about not wanting to work within an office environment, however this work experience actually allowed for me to have an understanding on the fact that working within an office is actually not as bad as I initially though it was. The week was definitely one of the most informative weeks I have ever had, and it was carefully planned for my arrival. The week was full of tasks which armed me with more knowledge, experience and skills which I never thought I could acquire within just a week. It has left me very happy and grateful for the fact that I was given this opportunity and has definitely set the bar high for any other work experience which I may conduct in the near future.