At Young Chamber we believe it is really important to give students the opportunity to spend time at Dorset Chamber for work experience. We like to offer a quality placement to students who are interested in business and take time to prepare them through an initial face-to-face meeting to establish what they would like to gain from their time with us, to tell them what we would like them to do, and to let them know what they can expect, as well as what is expected from them.
Maddy, a Year 12 Student at Parkstone Grammar School spent a week with Young Chamber in June. As part of her week with us she researched communications and drafted a press release, as well as preparing a Guest Blog for the web site. She writes:
“As a student in Year 12, I have found that you become subject to a substantial amount of pressure regarding future plans as you reach the middle of A-levels. Being someone who is completely unsure about what they want to do in the future, I wanted to become more proactive in my careers research by seeing my dedicated careers advisor to talk about future prospects.
Following her recommendation, I was incredibly lucky to secure a work experience placement with Joan at Dorset Young Chamber, which I was particularly pleased with as I had never experienced an office environment before.
My first day began with Joan explaining her role within Dorset Young Chamber and her involvement in account management. This includes assisting schools in offering students valuable careers advice, as well as maintaining relationships with sponsors to fund activities. Joan showed me the vast amount of effort that goes into providing students with careers opportunities and she is clearly very passionate about helping young people.
My second day was very busy as I was introduced to more members of the Dorset Chamber team and learnt about the different roles they all play within the company. I was first introduced to Tom, who works within Dorset Gateway to offer support for businesses to help with funding and training. Tom showed me how he updates the Gateway website and helps businesses by using the internet to search for useful websites to visit or organisations to contact.
I then met Stuart, Head of Marketing and Communications who talked to me about how businesses target potential customers through marketing. I found this particularly interesting as I do Media Studies and Stuart showed me how the types of things I learn in the classroom can be applied to a real job. I learnt about how businesses market events/products on social media and how they monitor engagement to post at the right time and day to increase exposure. He also taught me about the importance of building a brand identity and how this can affect the types of people who engage with your business.
Lastly, I met Amanda who manages the international trade documents of businesses that are members of Dorset Chamber, a very important role which requires her to be specially qualified. Her job involves checking to see if application forms are laid out correctly as well as offering advice to new businesses on how to fill them out. She taught me about all the different types of documents which are needed to export products to different countries, as well as how she certifies them carefully. It was very interesting to see how much effort and precision is involved in checking the documents.
On my 3rd and 4th day I was given the challenging task to write a press release about Dorset Young Chamber’s 4th anniversary to mimic what Joan does monthly for the Dorset business magazine. Initially I did some general research into the role of public relations as well as the function of a press release before planning and writing my own. I found it quite tricky to include all the key information whilst keeping the copy brief and interesting, but it was something I had never done before, so it was a useful learning experience.
I also talked with various members of the team about post 18 options and how they got to where they are now. The best, recurring piece of advice they gave me was that your first job is rarely what you’ll do forever. There are an immense number of possible careers and you will likely go through many different organisations before you find something you enjoy, to some extent at least.
Joan also frequently stressed the importance of having a valuable skill set which can take you anywhere and that good interpersonal skills are often just as or even more important than qualifications. I think this advice has made me feel more grounded regarding about my future options and made me realise that what I apply to do now is most likely not what I’m going to do forever so I may as well explore as many options as possible.
Doing work experience at Dorset Chamber has not only given me a useful insight into an office environment but has also shown me the vital work that goes into ensuring that young people are aware of the vast number of opportunities available for them. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Joan and the rest of the Dorset Chamber team, they are a lovely group of people and I very much hope to stay in touch with them in the future.”