My work experience placement was working at Achieving for Children (AfC). I was really nervous yet at the same time so excited about my first day. Working in an office was going to be a new experience for me (much different from walking into a classroom everyday) so I needed to get used to that. I came to the office wanting to make the most of this opportunity and to learn lots about the PR and Media side of a business, something I didn’t know much about. The staff at AfC were really friendly and welcoming which settled my nerves a little bit. My first task was to research Family Safety Week and write down a few notes about it which I then found out I would explain in the team meeting. I was actually quite happy to be attending a team meeting because I was interested to see what happens and what is discussed. Speaking at the meeting seemed daunting but it wasn’t that bad. I felt the little explanation about Family Safety Week went down well. There was a nice atmosphere in the meeting as everyone got along with each other really well; it was a good feeling.

My next task was to write a series of tweets about Family Safety Week for the corporate AfC twitter page. The research I had done earlier came in handy. It’s quite hard to write a tweet about a topic because of the 280-character limit so you have be careful, review the words and sentences that you are using and make sure at the same time it all makes sense. The most important skill I learned in this task was the ability to choose the most important and relevant words to explain something. Later that day, I was asked by the AfC info website manager to visit the AfC Info Young People’s section and write a review about it (as I am a young person). I found the website to be useful and helpful for young people. I also visited Anstee Bridge and was asked to do a short interview with the coordinator, Katherine. I’d never interviewed someone before and, as I only had a short amount of time with her, it was important I asked the right questions. It’s hard to think of the right questions but I think with experience I will improve on that. With the answers I received from Katherine and my own observations I made, I was tasked with writing a short news article about Anstee Bridge. I was fascinated by the school and what it does for teenagers who might be struggling and I think my article reflected that. While working at AfC, I learned about what type of jobs a PR and Media manager does and realised how important the job is as he is responsible for promoting the business whilst protecting the brand. I also picked up some skills on writing articles and tweets and how to make them appealing and relevant to the people reading it. I was really grateful for the wonderful feedback I got from the team and glad that they liked it. I was happy to learn these skills as writing articles is something I would like to do in the future. Another challenging task I was faced with was to write a transcript for a number of recruitment videos as, at the beginning, it was harder than I had expected. But after you find your own way of doing it, it becomes quite simple. This bit of work I completed was really important and will save the team a lot of time in the future. Then I got to learn about something that I found really interesting, video editing. I thought it would be difficult but, as I got the hang of it, I quickly learned the basics. I was asked to edit and finish 25 Occupational Therapy videos which I enjoyed (I even learned a couple of exercises to use myself). Overall, I really enjoyed my work experience here at AfC.  I feel like I got the most out of this experience that I could and I’m proud I can say that. The work I was given was challenging and helped me develop skills that will help me become a journalist in the future.

What is the point of work experience, I hear you say? It’s a question some teenagers ask when given a placement. Well the clue’s in the name; getting experience of being in work. It’s an important experience that I feel is hugely underrated as a lot of teenagers don’t take their work seriously. This means, while they are technically doing it, they don’t get anything out of it. You know what they say, ‘you only get what you put in’ well you if put in no effort, you will miss the only chance you’ll get at being in a working environment before you actually start in the real world. It’s important to be prepared for work as it is something you’ll be doing for the majority of your life. Work experience is there so students can get used to being in work as it is very different to being in school; trust me. School doesn’t really prepare you for work. Teachers will be constantly telling you what to do while at work (you might get a reminder) it’s your own responsibility to complete your tasks. It gives students a chance to effectively grow up and become an adult as the real world needs young people to be ready. It can help you understand if you like the career you want to do or whether it’s not the best option for you and, who knows, if you impress your employers, it could lead to a job offer in the future. In a research study by Highfliers, over half of the graduate recruiters said that young people are more likely to be successful in getting a job if they have done work experience. This proves that it will be really important when you apply for a job and not just because it gives you something to put on your CV! Employers will want people that have had experience working which is proven by a statement made by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills “the number one reason why employers turn young job applicants away is because of a lack of experience”. This is why work experience is so important for students lives in the present and in their future.

I know I have got a better understanding of the media and journalism industry because of this placement and I believe other students can do the same at AfC across all their different departments. I’d like to thank AfC for giving opportunities like this to young people.  It’s a great place to work.