Much more than just making the tea

By Rebecca Greenwood, 17

As someone who had never done work experience before, I was exceptionally nervous about starting a placement. I worried that I would be dressed too formally or too casually, that I would fall over when I first walked in or be late, that I would be in everyone’s way. My parents had filled me with horror stories about how I would spend my week running about making tea for everyone in the office, and it sounded very dry and unappealing.
However, things could not have been more different.

After struggling to find the office when I came for an interview, almost being late, I was determined to be early or at least on time. However, given that I actually knew where I was going this time, I ended up being 20 minutes early; nothing short of a minor miracle for a morning on public transport in Sheffield. I walked in without tripping and, happily, I was dressed correctly so most of my worries were quickly forgotten.
Everyone in the team offers the rest a cuppa if they’re making one.

I was given tasks that directly contributed to the work of the business, including research into potential new clients and contact details for possible new avenues of marketing for current clients. Moreover, asking to review and provide feedback about the social media aspects of the company left me feeling that I was contributing positively rather than just being underfoot and in the way as I had expected to be.

I was asked to write press releases and even attended staff brainstorms and meetings. I also began to understand more the importance of good company-client relations and how knowing people can assist greatly in attaining information and even new clients. I was able to go home every night feeling as though I had been productive and had done well at the tasks I was set; a satisfying feeling that made me eager for the next day.

With my aspirations of being a journalist, and PR companies often working very closely with reporters and members of the press, it was fascinating and extremely useful to be able to see the other side of the world in which I hope to have a career. Moreover, it was beneficial to be able to see how companies often compose press releases from little to no information, and yet still make it interesting and informative by using their initiative and creativity.

Everyone was welcoming and friendly, and made me feel as though I was part of the team rather than a clueless college student who had to be led by the hand through everything asked of her. Everyone was always hard at work, yet the atmosphere was relaxed. Having expected a soulless office space, the open, airy room was wonderful to work in and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.