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What did you do for your work experience?

This week, we have been entertained by the wonderful Eddie, a young man who decided to do his two weeks’ work experience with the disarray that is Southern Rail. In a move that could be either madness or genius, 15-year old Eddie was tasked with manning their Twitter feed, and although it could have turned out pretty badly, the result was awesome, with Eddie and the obliging public creating a welcome break from all the complaints and attacks that Southern Rail has inevitably experienced.

You didn’t see it? Learn more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40580704

Southern Rail

© Southern Rail

His story has got us talking about how we spent our work experience weeks. Were they two weeks of valuable insight into the world of work? Or were we just glad to get out of school for a while?

We asked around the 4 Leisure Recruitment team to see if our work experience experiences were anywhere near as good as Eddie’s.

Martyn Senior spent 4 weeks in the Microbiology Department of Hope Children’s Hospital in the summer of ‘83.  He said “A rare heat wave in Manchester at a time before air-conditioning was common place, so working with children’s faecal samples wasn’t great for my health or appetite that summer! Spending prolonged periods on my own with little human contact (bar the samples) helped me to realise I should pursue a career where there was a constant buzz.”

Leisure recruitment certainly has a buzz and (generally) you’re dealing with something more fragrant!

Work experience in a lab

Jean Wing Hing did his work experience at the Pavilion Leisure Centre in Bromley shortly after it was built.

He says “I spent two hellish weeks on poolside in about 80 degrees shadowing a lifeguard and duty manager. I could barely swim at the time. Although this was in the early 90s! Some 20+ years later, I’m still in the leisure industry. Doing less poolside duties these days.”

Swimming jobs

James Proctor also did his work experience in the leisure industry, by spending “two weeks cleaning mirrors in a gym”. Still, it taught him a couple of valuable lessons he’s carried with him to the present day. “I learnt 1) never to work for that company again because they didn’t understand what the whole point of work experience was, and 2) I definitely never want to be a window cleaner!”

cleaning jobs

Work experience is certainly a good way of working out what you don’t want to do, as much as inspiring you to take up something you would never have considered.

Peter Brooks spent two weeks working at an accountancy firm. If nothing else “…it made me realise that not every role is a glamorous one – I understood the amount of work people go through behind the scenes and how that work can look (effectively quite mundane and repetitive in the world of accountancy) and whilst I have always been quite good with numbers I knew from then on I wasn’t suited to the life of an accountant, I would be bored stiff and needed something with a bit more uncertainty in the daily life. So it shaped my career in the sense it allowed me to rule out one potential avenue that I could have taken.”

Leisure recruitment

No-one from the team has yet beaten Lizi Turner’s experience. She says….

“We had to line up our own work experience in our own free time at my school, so I rang the Assistant Editor of ‘Mizz’ magazine to ask if I could shadow her and to my amazement, she agreed! First exposure to an office environment and this one had a young, creative and laid back vibe, which I was loving.  At 15 I was made to feel like one of the team; from opening reader letters and choosing the ones to publish, to assisting the fashion and makeup photo shoots.  Their sample room was like Aladdin’s cave and I was allowed to choose what I liked to take home but the best bit was appointing my little sister as a ‘make-over model’ for the next edition…. Great memories and published images of my sister in the magazine to bribe her with for the rest our lives! “

Work experience in beauty

Some good memories, and some not so good, but valuable all the same!

What did you do for your work experience?

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