Reflections on Work Experience

At Magna Academy, our students undertake their work experience fortnight in Year 12. This year, we thought it would be interesting for our website readers and younger students to get a glimpse of what this involves.

So, we asked two delightful Year 12s to pop in and have a chat about what they did and what were their reflections on how work experience happened for them. Our subjects are Kirsty Wall and Nicole Chee:

Nicole & Kirsty 01

Magna: So, ladies, tell us first a little about where you went for your work experience.

Nicole: OK, so I went to a tax and advisory firm called Inspire Professional Services. I was also lucky enough before this to have a week working alongside an osteopath, so I feel I've had some really diverse opportunities through work experience.

Kirsty: I was really pleased to get my work experience placement with The Junction Sports and Leisure Centre in Broadstone.

Magna: Two work experiences, Nicole? Well, our first question has to be this. Can you tell us about the differences you experienced in each placement?

Nicole: At the osteopathic clinic, I was very much shadowing one-to-one relationships with patients. This wasn't always easy because the relationships between the practitioner and the patient were already close. Also, the work is literally hands-on, so there were times when I felt quite awkward. Osteopathy treatment is very personal and being an extra person in the room was strange. What was nice, though, was that the patients always managed to put me at ease. They were happy for me to be there and always open and talkative.

Nicole & Kirsty 02

Magna: And how about the more office-based experience at Inspire?

Nicole: OK, well that was very different. There are about 40-50 people working at Inspire and I got to spend time with quite a number of them, each working in very different roles. I got to learn an awful lot about how accountancy works and how people approach their work. What surprised me was just how very much like a family the business is. Even the founder and MD, Warren, is really open and approachable. It was lovely. They were all very kind to me.

Magna: And you've been kind enough to create a web page for us that documents your time at Inspire. Is that right?

Nicole: I have! I used the Magna media tools you shared with me and I published it here. Of course, I cleared everything with Inspire before the page went live. They loved it! I wrote it up in the form of a diary. I hope you like it too.

Magna: Kirsty. What kind of things were you doing at the Leisure Centre?

Kirsty: Oh plenty of things. There was a lot of setting up equipment for the various sessions. I was shadowing Personal Trainers who were working one-to-one with their clients. Much like Nicole's experiences at the Osteopathic Clinic, really.

Magna: Were there any aspects of the experience that you particularly liked? That question is for either of you.

Nicole: It was such a relaxed working environment. People worked hard but the atmosphere wasn't oppressive or stressed. During breaks between jobs, people were free to talk socially and to enjoy one another's company. There are targets that have to be met and I was really interested to see that the staff clocked their time into software that billed the time to the client on whose job they were working. I know this is going to sound nerdy, but the thing I really enjoyed was working on document archiving. There were papers dating back to 2016 that needed sorting and boxing. I really did well with that work and I was praised for it by my mentor.

Kirsty: That's an easy question for me. I loved the Lifeguard Training Course. There were ten people going through the course while I was there. They all had to revise and go through a tough exam and I was really happy that all ten of them passed the exam. There are another seven qualified Lifeguards working there, so I was quite taken aback at how many people make up that really important team at the Leisure Centre.

Magna: Any downside things? Things you didn't enjoy?

Kirsty: Argh, yes. The bins. I was on bin emptying duty and I really didn't like that. The bin just seemed to be getting over-full all the time and I found that really frustrating. To be fair, I'm not asked to do the bins at home so maybe this was good learning for me but... urgh... bins.

Nicole & Kirsty 03

Nicole: For me, it was taxation. Part of my rotation was spending time with the taxation team. I just couldn't get my head around it. It got to the point where they were very kind and moved me on to some accounting work instead, which I was much happier with. I was so appreciative that they did that.

Magna: And has your experience of the workplace affected or changed your plans for the future?

Nicole: I was always set on working in accountancy and that's still my ambition. The osteopathy experience was brilliant and taught me so much about working directly with people. It even tempted me for a while to think about that line of work. But it's still accountancy for me. What I would say to anyone going into work experience is not to narrow down your thinking. Try things you didn't imagine before and you might be inspired. I think people are capable of following more than one dream.

Kirsty: Yes, I would agree with that 100%. I was more undecided than Nicole about my future. I had imagined that I would follow something in Art through into University but I'm very aware the job options are limited in that industry. What suprised me at the Leisure Centre was how young so many of the staff are and so I could more easily imagine me in that line of work. I'm now thinking of doing a swimming course and doing some volunteering in the sports industry. I'm leaning more now towards qualifications in sports business than art.

Magna: Thank you, ladies. It's been great to talk with you and we will follow your journeys over the coming years with a lot of interest. Will you keep in touch and let us know how things are going?

Kirsty: Well, there's a year to go yet but sure, of course we will.

Nicole: Definitely.  And can I just add that I am still wishing I'd had time to finish that archiving job at Inspire. I think maybe that shows just how good a work experience can be. I didn't want it to stop!