Work experience – yes please

Yesterday I attended the launch of Wakefield Works, the campaign that encourages local businesses to open their doors to those aged between 18-25 who are looking for a career or a new opportunity. During the week-long campaign, which runs from the 14-18 October, businesses will agree to interview potential candidates with a promise of offering work experience to the best applicant.

We were involved in this initiative in 2012. Although we weren’t able to offer a full time job, we provided four weeks work experience to a journalism graduate and helped them to get a real feel for whether PR was right for them.

Wakefield Works was definitely a success in our eyes, which is why we’ll be opening our doors again as part of Wakefield Works 2013 and why we are part of the team that is helping to spread the word and encourage others to show their support.

As a business it’s good to give something back, but for Open it’s also about encouraging interest within our sector, helping to increase the skills of potential candidates who want to work in a creative industry.

Last night I was in a room of like-minded individuals, which was encouraging to see. I also take my hat off to First Choice, The Wakefield Express, Statement and Room 97 for co-ordinating, planning and driving the campaign for a second year. From what I can see the team have been working hard to make the campaign an even bigger success, making it easier for business to register their interest and for candidates to book a suitable slot with relevant businesses. Plus it’s a full week, not just one day, certainly better from our point of view!

I’m a great advocate of work experience seeing first-hand how it can make a real difference, in fact when I look back I realise that I have used work experience tactically from being a young age – although I probably didn’t realise it at the time.

It was a work placement in PR that started my passion for writing and also the management of key campaigns and events. During my second year of university I spent six weeks on work experience finding out if PR was for me. It was and I was hooked. I loved it and spent the next 18 months working every spare minute for free, building my portfolio and working on great campaigns.

I remember being at my first interview and yes they were interested in my degree but they were also very interested in my experience. I got offered this job; it was as a PR Assistant for a group of hotels. But I also got a job offer from the agency that opened their door to me for work experience. I soon realised that my hard work was paying off and my enthusiasm, which came from the experience I had, was leading to real life job offers.

The rest, as they say, is history!


To find out more about Wakefield Works visit follow @wakefieldworks