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13 October 2014

Monday 13 October

Today marks the start of work experience week. At London Youth, we are pleased to celebrate the great role work experience plays in a young person's journey into employment.

Work experience plays an important role in the Talent Match London programme, with young people taking part to develop their skills, gain experience, and decide what career is right for them. It is also a great way for employers to get involved in the programme, offering meaningful work placements.

Talent Match London Youth board member Jody has written a short piece on his own work experience, what he learned and why he thinks it is important for young people to have access to these opportunities. 

On the first day back at school for the last term of Year 10, we were all called to an assembly in which work experience was finally explained to us. My class mates and I were all quite excited because the concept of work experience sounded amazing; two weeks off school, possible pay if you find a generous employer and of course getting our first taster of working life.

For the next two weeks or so everybody used spare time during school to try and organise spots in the best possible places, some were less lucky than others, and some left it until the very last minute and ended up in the school kitchen serving us chips and beans.

I however was one of the lucky ones as I had planned on going to Redweb, an award winning web design agency, for some time before Year 10 even started.

At the time I lived with my auntie Louise who was a successful web designer that worked freelance after a six year spell at Redweb. Watching her make websites look cool and innovative made me decide to pursue a work experience placement at Redweb.

I think I was one of five people who had interviews for the special two week spot working with David Burton in his innovation lab, which I have to say was a very cool room with bold paintings on the wall and even its own kitchen. I ended up the successful candidate due to my willingness to learn and my basic flash animation skills.

Monday morning, the start of my two weeks at Redweb and I couldn’t wait to get there. I was very optimistic as I’d imagined it was going to be very useful in helping me decide whether this was my career of choice or not.

During the two weeks I did a vast number of different things from sitting in meetings with clients to shadowing designers, coders and of course the innovation team.

I found the whole experience very insightful and I enjoyed it very much. One of the main things I took away from it was seeing how much work goes into the smallest of details and watching an idea from a client go from the drawing board to brainstorming sessions all the way to a good looking website.

A few years on and I’m now working on Talent Match London as a member of the youth board with a good insight of work experience. I think it’s great for young people to gain experience where ever they can and a well-structured work experience placement is really good to give them that insight into the sector they have selected.

Even if they decide it’s not for them at least they now know and will have most likely picked up a few transferable skills in the meantime.