As a 15-year-old student about to go into my final year of high school, I believe work experience is an important rite of passage: it helps to settle and prepare for the hard year of work ahead. For students, it confirms the type of concentration and work ethic required for the outside world. This would always be the takeaway if all students valued their work experience opportunities and chose jobs that either reflected the work environment they might end up in (office, pharmacy, farm etc.), or directly related to their planned career. But it is rare for both of these points to be hit as the majority of students choose to go for “easy” work experience that is either conveniently near to home or something that does not require much effort.
I chose to do my work experience at Haggie Partners for two main reasons. First, I wanted to try commuting to London as I’ve always wanted to live and work here. This has always been an ambition for me as every time I’ve been to London through my life, I’ve loved it and found it much more colourful and interesting than rural Essex. The second reason is that I only have a vague idea of what I want to do when I’m older, therefore I thought I’d try something that interested me to test the waters.
Many people my age have no idea what they want to do when they are older- it’s not an uncommon problem. While schools try their hardest to guide students to a decision, with career fairs and guidance counsellors, I’ve not had much experience beyond people listing jobs or describing the GCSE grades I’d need to get hired. This information is very useful but if you don’t know what you want to do then being given the steps to achieve it is simply useless. Don’t run before you can walk, as they say. Therefore, I find work experience to be a vital part of choosing post-16 options. Learning first hand gives you a much better impression of a career than watching a PowerPoint outlining the pros, cons and salary in a dimly lit hall where none of the students are listening.
I chose to do my work experience at Haggie Partners because everyone has always said I would be good at communications and frankly, I had no idea what that entailed. I’ve learned that communications in part refers to having and maintaining good relationships. In a public relations business like Haggie Partners, these relationships are loosely divided into two main categories: client and journalist. To be successful in the industry one should ensure they have a solid, professional and understanding relationship with the client, and a built-up network of reporters with whom you can discuss important topics. If you don’t retain both aspects of your relationships, then you are doing something wrong. You need the clients to trust you otherwise they’ll look elsewhere, and you need that relationship with the reporters, or you will fail to create the positive impression your client needs in the media.
While I remain unsure of what career path I want to take, and whether or not it will be communications, at least I’ll know what people are talking about. I’ve also learned that I’d be perfectly happy working in an office (thanks to the Haggie Partners team and their welcoming, informal attitudes – combined with an energy that is self-fulfilling among co-workers). And I love London. I knew I liked the city, but I’ve loved working here every day (even if the commute can be hell on an off day) and I know I’d be prepared to live and work around the capital. Before work experience, this had just been a vague idea but I’m now positive it’s something I want to do.
I feel I have had a thoroughly useful work experience and I am a little more confident about my post-16 options. I’m so glad I chose to do my experience at Haggie Partners as I’ve got everything that I wanted out of it and haven’t wasted my time.
Thank you to everyone at Haggie Partners for being so kind and supportive!