“What will the work experience be like?” is probably one of the most common questions that students and teachers ask us when they enquire about Erasmus+ and our London-based Internship Programme. It’s also one of the most difficult ones to answer, as every intern has different goals and interests that will shape their particular internship. However, we understand your curiosity and want to be as transparent as possible when it comes to the types of work placements we provide. We spoke to Extended Services Officer Ewa Micun about what childcare and admin interns can expect from working alongside her at Whitefield School, one of our placement providers.
Tell us a bit about your workplace.
Whitefield School is an incredible place to work. We have students and staff from all around the world and each and every one of us is passionate about our work and the students we work with. We used to be a sports college, so we have amazing sport facilities. We also work with different organisations and extend our links beyond what is expected of a secondary school.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
My job brings a lot of joy. No two days look the same. We are running different short-term and long-term projects, some including working with students and others with local residents. My work varies between holiday camps, cycling courses, admin work and evaluating activities.
Why have you decided to take on work experience students?
Every work experience student is unique, brings joy to our school and to the office, and is enthusiastic to support the daily activities of a busy department. Their support allows me to think of ideas for future projects.
What do the students bring to the school?
They all work differently, but within the first few days we usually get to know each other's working style. I love the energy that young people bring to London from other countries. Also happiness and a willingness to help as much as they can within their working arrangements. And company - I’ve got someone to work closely with for that period of time.
What do you think interns learn from Whitefield school?
I hope they enjoy working here. I believe that learning is an enjoyable process, and when people enjoy what they do and feel happy, they learn more quickly and without noticing it as much.
But it's difficult to say. Everyone is different and has different skills and interests. Some work experience students have been very creative and so they have supported me in creating new display boards. Others were keen to know how to set up a project. That was how The Breakfast Club got started two years ago. Students have also helped out with admin, evaluation of extracurricular provision, taking registers and feedback and creating PowerPoints that were screened all over the school. During school holidays, students have supported me in the reception area, dealing with phone calls, parent enquiries and letting people into the building. They can probably think of a hundred other things - and they would be absolutely right!
What is the most common problem students face at Whitefield?
I believe ADC College prepares the students well for the work placement. They don't seem nervous - or maybe they hide it so well that I can't see the slightest sign of worry! They smile and seem simply happy about the experience.
Some of them are not sure about their speaking skills. My advice is not to worry, and talk! I will understand. English is not my first language and in the course of my life in the UK I have often dealt with people who can only speak a few words. Be proud of the fact you can speak English and do not worry if you make mistakes. If I don’t understand, I will ask again! If you are not sure about something – don’t worry! If you don’t know something - just ask and I will repeat or show you what I mean.
Do you have any advice for students preparing for their first day at work?
Be open and honest, don’t worry and be happy. During the first few days, you will be introduced to the school and its people. The second week is when you start working more independently, managing tasks and showing off your skills. Due to the nature of my position, I can't guarantee that the first day will look the same to all students. I’m flexible and expect students that work with me to be flexible too. Communication is the key.
Always be honest and open about what you know and what you don’t know and we will work around both areas to make sure the experience is challenging, but also comfortable.
The Internship Programme is a project eligible for EU funding. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or send us a message.