During the Summer term, our year 10 students spent a week on work experience at a variety of companies across the County. Without exception, we had positive feedback from their mentors and much of it was absolutely glowing!
One employer said that our student was the best work experience student he had ever had and another said that not only was our placement student enthusiastic and helpful but could also make a very good mug of tea (and those of us who have been in the UK workplace for sometime will know that this is a key networking skill!). Words and phrases like fantastic, enthusiastic, absolute pleasure, brilliant;,10/10 for eagerness to learn, peppered reports on the students’ return to school. A huge thank you goes to Jane Cockerill who organises the placement scheme and to all staff who went out on placements to see this feedback.
Companies and organisations who kindly took our students for work experience included: Holywell Press, Larkmead Veterinary Group, Mercedes AMG Petronas, Nuffield Health, Oxford University Press, and The North Wall Arts Centre.
Here, two of the students write about their experiences (Anya and Alexander are shown below, second from right and far right at our End of Year awards celebration last week)
Anya Carr worked at The New Theatre in Oxford
“Work experience was an exciting and compelling opportunity for the entire year group. I had the good fortune to go to The New Theatre on George Street and found myself experiencing an entirely different world wherein I felt responsible, independent and engaged.
“My week consisted of learning about all the different aspects of theatre and all the different jobs that were necessary to accomplish a finished show. The show I was helping with was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It was fascinating to see how much effort went into a production and to learn of all the important jobs I have never considered when seeing a play. I spent time working with Marketing, where I discovered the ways in which productions are advertised and sold so as to create a popular show that is in demand. Communication skills were vital and I saw the way in which a group of people would pool their knowledge and talents, working together to produce the best possible outcomes.
“I also worked with the Box Office and Stage Door departments, learning the secrets to selling tickets quickly and effectively. I was able to partake in Front of House work, managing security, ushering people and selling merchandise. A particularly interesting feature of my work experience was helping and learning about backstage management. It was enthralling to see the technical side of a play concerning lighting, sound, flying, props, costumes and cues. I was lucky enough to be allowed to watch from backstage with all the technicians as an evening performance took place and saw first hand the, magic of theatre from the wings. This particularly special part of the week has inspired me to look into behind-the-scenes working of other plays and has sparked an increasing interested in the theatrical world.
“I was able to use skills that i have been building my whole life in a real scenario and I was treated as part of the team, a huge responsibility that felt like an honour. The whole experience was truly amazing, opening my eyes to a realm of work that I had never been aware of and encouraging me to follow this path in later life.”
Alexander Pryce worked at Unipart in Oxford
“For my work-experience, I stayed with a company called Unipart for a week. Specifically, I worked in their Cyber Security Division.
“To say that I had fun that week would be an incredible understatement. Cyber Security is, by definition, the action of protecting servers and networks (and other places where important and confidential data is stored) from unauthorised access. In simple terms, it’s where people try and make computers un-hackable. I had already gained some background knowledge of the world of Cyber Security from my Computer Science lessons, but the work I did was a lot more specialised towards data protection and malicious intent; often meaning it was a lot more controversial and, as a result, enjoyable.
“Before I could understand how to intercept data traffic and perform cyber reconnaissance, I had to learn very difficult and mentally challenging topics and ideas; ideas like the Open Systems Interconnection Model (OSI Model) and the different types of data packets and protocols. It was very difficult to retain all of the knowledge, but the guys I was working with told me that it would only come up in exams years from now, so even if I forgot some things, it would help me understand them later down the road. After I had covered the key and fundamental ideas (which took place around day 1 and 2), I moved on to doing some work for the company centred around the ideas I had been told about; for example performing open-source data collection using websites like hunter.io and shodan to gather data on companies. My average day was structured so that I would work on these types of projects in the morning, up until lunch, where I would then be given rough lessons on the basics of hacking. (Purely for educational purposes of course!)
“I was told that if I wanted to, I could use the file extension robots.txt to find out what type of software a website was running on. Then, I could, if I wanted to, use tools like securityheaders.io to find out what type of vulnerabilities and weaknesses that specific software had, and how I might go about exploiting them. Finally, I could find the administration page for the website software and perform a ‘man-in-the-middle’attack.
“So to summarise, the whole experience was extremely enlightening and informative. I had a great group of people who showed a brand new perspective of the world I had not seen before. I would do it again instantly if I could.”