My work experience week at by Raquel Sklar, Year 11 at The Cherwell School

Monday 16th October saw the launch of Work Experience Month 2017, organised by Fair Train to raise awareness of the amazing work that organisations throughout the UK are doing to promote and deliver high quality work experience. We were delighted to be joined by Raquel this month, who writes below about her experience of work experience!

My name is Raquel Sklar and I’m a year 11 student at The Cherwell School. This week I’ve been with Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership for my work experience. To my surprise, they organised all of the placements for my school this year!

I arrived on Monday morning, admittedly feeling quite nervous. However, the people there were very welcoming and I quickly settled into the Oxfordshire Apprenticeships team. In the morning we went to visit Witney Lakes Resort to discuss the upcoming, open “West Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Event” due to be held on Thursday the 19th of October. Then later in the afternoon we headed to the Natural History Museum for Science Experience Week. It was great as we got to learn about some of the museum’s collections and their latest exhibit on the development of the brain. Why not check out my article on it?

Wednesday morning consisted of health and safety checks for future Apprenticeships and work experience placements with the Work Experience Team. It was there where I learnt that all workplaces have different risks and depending on the extent of those risks, health and safety checks have to be carried out every so often - for example a low risk placement like an office has to be visited every three years. In the afternoon I developed my spreadsheet skills via Excel by organising Apprenticeship vacancies into a table and analysing the data. I also used graphs to help get a greater understanding of the analysis.

On Thursday I visited St.Gregory’s School and Iffley Academy to see the career guidance and opportunities they provide to their students and to make suggestions for improvements. It was really interesting to see the way schools help their students with their futures and the activities they provide like: career fairs, mock interviews, assemblies and workshops. In the afternoon I developed my computer skills through the use of Powtoon, a software program that allows you to make informative, animated videos. I spent the rest of the day planning and editing my video on tips for work experience – click here if you would like to watch it!

I spent Friday morning finishing the Powtoon video and adding last minute touches. I then spent the afternoon at the Synolos reopening in Witney. Synolos is a charity that supports unemployed youth and NEETS (people who aren’t in employment, education or training) by engaging them in activities and helping them gain qualifications. The type of the work they do is: carpentry, jewellery making, photography and retail.

Synolos (Me) Small.jpg

So was work experience worth it? Definitely. I’ve learnt so much over the past four days and have discovered so many things (one of them being my undying love for a cup of tea while working in the office!) I’ve learnt that work can be fun; I actually looked forward to waking up in the morning - which is very strange for me as I’m a night owl. What really surprised me was the relaxed ambience in the office; I had assumed it would be very strict but it was quite the contrary; everyone was very friendly and willing to answer all my questions, I was even allowed to go and get as many cups of tea as I pleased! I also loved how the job was a combination of both office work and being out and about. What surprised me the most was the amount of work people here put into work experience and Apprenticeships; every day consisted of meetings and the organisation of upcoming events. As a student I get to participate in such events and I had never realised the amount of time, thinking and effort needed to organise them effectively.

To conclude, this has been an amazing experience and I’m very grateful to Oxfordshire Apprenticeships for giving me this opportunity. I’ve learnt about all the work that goes on to help provide students from many different schools with events and activities to help them make informed decisions about their futures. This has also helped me gather an understanding of this type of job and has made me more confident about the world of work.

See the Storify summary of my week in photos!

Raquel Sklar, Work Experience Student, Year 11, The Cherwell School