A fresh look at what can be achieved through work experience

Jessica McConkeyThe term ‘work experience’ generally conjures up one of two thoughts: the idea of free labour to do the jobs you can’t or don’t want to do, or a fear about the amount of time it will take out of your day to train and guide someone while also completing your own duties.

Why is it that we don’t view it as a two-way experience? You might invest a lot of time in explaining, demonstrating and guiding, but you can reap just as many rewards as the candidate themselves. Karen Dalby, senior events manager for Mitie Client Services discovered this first-hand during a recent work experience placement.

“Our events team recently had a work experience placement with us for seven weeks and it was such a worthwhile experience for all of us.  The placement came through the Mitie Foundation – an independent charity focused on creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds to join the world of work, by raising aspirations and unlocking people’s true potential.

The Mitie Foundation’s Ready2Work scheme provides unemployed people with a one week pre-placement training course before placing them for seven weeks in an on-site work placement, so that candidates know how they should act and dress for the environment in which they plan to seek work.

Getting your foot in the door of the events industry can be quite difficult, and our candidate, Jessica McConkey, was well aware that some experience would be useful. She was a bright, motivated and aspirational 18-year-old who’d already had some experience in running small events with her mother and raising funds for local charities. She was excited to gain some work experience in the world of corporate events, and she proved to be a very useful pair of extra hands!

Being a sociable person, she was a natural at helping with the many dedicated reception desks we have in place when welcoming guests to events across the campus and occasionally hosting clients to the event spaces. Jessica helped to put signage in place for events, run the cloakroom, give directions to clients and was generally on hand to assist wherever needed.  She also shadowed the various Event Managers to help her to gain some further understanding of all the components needed to host a successful event.

Jessica left full of knowledge and with a greater understanding about the events industry, but we also benefitted from her external perspective and the fresh ideas that she brought to the team.  Not only did we have additional resource to help us run our events, but we helped the Mitie Foundation to get a great individual into the world of work.

She didn’t want the placement to end and is now certain about her chosen career.  The experience she gained has helped her secure an events apprenticeship role with the National Theatre, which makes the whole process even more worthwhile.”

Karen Dalby is Senior Events Manager for Mitie Client Services.

For more information on the Mitie Foundation, contact Stephen Barthorpe and follow them on Twitter.

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