Near the end of last year, my schools work experience co-coordinator came to us and told us it was time to begin planning for work experience, which begins on July 7th till the 16th. Due to fact I’ve always wanted to work experience because older children in the past have said it has been fun and enjoyable, plus you get to work in typical work environment. Although work experience has gained praise I believe work experience is about learning new skills, learning new ideas, working as part of a team and having the ability to communicate.
Although our work experience co-ordinator said “do not restrict yourself to just the job you believe your going to do in the future, but try to get a job which you’re interested in. ” With that in mind I began applying for placements in my field of interest Media, before the Christmas holidays I sent out a number of application forms which had included a cover letter, a c. v. And a permission letter from work experience co-ordinator Ms McQuaid.
During the holidays I waited for replies from my choice of placements but I heard nothing. So when I came back after the new Year I sent of thirty five new applications to various sections in media, these included KISS 100, Capital fm, XFM, Channel FIVE, The Sun, The Daily Mirror and The South London Press. When it came to February I began to get various replies however they were all rejections. Reasons they would say include I’m under 18, I applied too late and that the placements for July were all taken.
Seen as I had applied to fifty placements I still had a chance to get the placement of my choice, with my co-ordinator breathing down our necks to tie down a placement or risk getting one not of your choice in somewhere like Sainsbury’s stacking shelves. So with that in mind I began phoning the placements I applied for. This was very hectic but my school gave me the time to do so during games lessons and at lunch times when I needed to do so. Whilst phoning around I came into contact with many helpful people some not so co-operative, I found the larger companies had the worst attitudes.
With ten chances left to get a placement of my choice I phoned South London Press and spoke to Kara the assistant to publishing director at South London Press. She asked me my interests and I told her she then said to come for an interview on the 18th of April. The same day Kara agreed to have an interview with the Big Issue had accepted for a placement. I kept this opportunity open and still went for the interview for the South London Press.
The interview was on the 18th of April, on the day I had to take with my cover letter, permission letter and c.v. The day was very sunny and the journey was simple, take Victoria line tube to Victoria then the Southwest Train to Streatham Hill Station The location of SLP. When I arrived I greeted the reception and asked for them to call Kara. I waited for two minutes and Kara came and she took me to the interview room where she discussed dates with me and then told me I had got the placement which I was happy with. With the struggle to gain a placement out of the way I had to begin filling in health and safety forms and looking up information on SLP.
The months flew by and by time I had looked three months had passed and it was time for the whole of year tens induction to work experience, which was the 5th July. On this day we got a thirty-six-page work experience diary, which had to be filled out through out the placement period, which was help. Parts in the diary included personal details, key skills, self -assessments, my skills action plan, my action plan, a daily record, interview section and a part to write a report at the end, which I’m currently doing.
During the induction we had to fill out a section called My skills action plan and My action plan, these sections were to say how you would practise key skills and a part were you say what you want to gain from work experience. The induction lasted for a morning. On Friday I also phoned Kara to see what time I started and finished, the times were 10am till 4pm. On the following Monday work experience began, I travelled to Streatham hill for 10am, on my mind was to find out what makes this paper so good that people in South London pay 35p twice a week.
The first day was good; it went by at considerable speed as many of the staff was rushed of their feet as Monday was deadline day for tomorrow Tuesdays newspaper. One the Monday I was kept quite busy . I toured the building, did the post, surfed the internet looking at national weekly newspaper sales, designed a questionnaire for a interview later in the week, looked at past issues of the SLP. I also did various other things like enveloping and the post. However during the week things moved faster and I learned a lot of new things, much of what I wanted to learn.
Although I learned a lot, I also had to do a lot admin work which included filing, photocopying, enveloping ands loads of handing out bulletin leaflets to all four floors. At times it became tedious; I knew it was part of work for everybody even the Series Editor. On the placement I learned how to frank mail, use the feeder on the photocopier and I learnt how to bind papers, I think learned these skills because I enjoyed. Enveloping was the task I least enjoyed, so adding salt to the wound. I did loads of it.
At the start of the placement I came across something typical of work environment, it took place in the restroom where the vending machines are, to girls came in and began bitching about other girls in the Tele Sales department and my supervisor looked at me and said “that’s typical. ” Another funny time was when I went out with the sales rep Matt Best over the day we travelled to Catford, Eltham and Charlton whilst driving to these locations he kept me laughing with his sexual innuendoes and his comments to other drivers. On the return to SLP Kara told me I went out with the funniest man in the building, which was true.
The last of the funny encounters came on the last day in the sports desk, the three sports journalists Tobi (editor) and Hasim and Chris (reporters) were jokes about members of staff and lower league football teams came all the time. On my first day, Kara my supervisor said it was important that I interview the Series Editor, as this would enlighten me on how things are run in an environment like SLP. As this was the first morning to prepare the questionnaire for Friday. She gave me newspapers and various Internet sites to aid me in putting together a good questionnaire.
The newspapers did help but the Internet sites I found were not precise enough on what I was looking for. The end result was a two pages with 17 questions regarding various areas in journalism and a career in journalism in media it took me just over two hours to complete in the end I was happy with it. On Friday my interview was postponed because of shortage of staff, so on Tuesday out of the blue Kara gave the chance to do the interview before I left on the Wednesday. As Hannah Walker the Series Editor was absent I interviewed the deputy Series editor Shujual Azam.
He was very willing to answer all my questions, I found out he likes the aspect of journalism and but he dislikes the admin. I also asked how many people are under his wing in SLP, he said, “Sub editors, promotions, sports journalists. ” During my interview I asked him what he achieved through his career he said “a lot things, a well paid job and a nice house. ” Regarding achievements, I believe over my eight-day placement I picked up many new skills. Like how to count paper fast, quick way how to work VAT. Along with this I also believe I improved my communication skills.
I believe this was down to the fact every day I was introducing myself to new people whether it was outside selling adverts to businesses, telling staff about what I’m studying at school, or asking questions to members of staff for information I required. At the beginning of my placement I wrote out targets which I wanted to achieve from my placement at South London press. They where to see the layout of a paper, undertake aspects of work placements without supervision, to manage free time effectively, be able to work in a team, to be flexible, to record various types of information on a database.
As you can see from my targets, I set my standards high. Although I had a few problems with achieving my targets, however I achieved 95% of my targets under the supervision of Kara who wrote my achievement in my report when my teacher came to visit. One of my targets I would like to improve on in the future is my information technology skill. At SLP it was very difficult to do this because their was not that much I. T work to do apart from mail merging addresses and writing up a letter in Microsoft Word for the South London Press sponsored hero’s awards.
The one an half weeks spent on work experience I found was very enjoyable, I achieved nearly 100% of my targets set, found out a lot about the background to producing a weekly regional newspaper. I believe the placement in South London Press was very fundamental for my future as underlined what I believed and that is that my career is in media very much the journalism side and not football. My time at South London Press would have not been achieved if wasn’t for help from my Ms McQuaid, Kara McIlvaney, June Brown, Ms Ross, Ms Schmidt and myself. So I’m very grateful to everyone for their efforts. Thank you