What I learnt from... work experience at ISS

What I learnt from... work experience at ISS

How did 15-year-old Emma Lawson get on when she was placed at the services company ISS for a week?

“I was so nervous – but I really enjoyed it”

Emma Lawson is 15 and from Surrey – her favourite subjects are drama and dance and she dreams of working in performing arts. So when her school placed her at ISS for a one-week work experience placement she had no idea what to expect…

What did you do on your placement?

“I was there for a week, working in the human resources department – or HR as it’s also called. The normal things I was tasked with was stuff like checking that the payroll was right, dealing with complaints, sending and replying to emails. I was also asked to do a few references for previous employees and to send offer letters out to new employees.

“The other thing I had to do was send off DBS applications (forms to check any previous criminal offences a new employee might have) to the new graduates who were joining the company soon. Everything I did during the week was so different, but I was still interested in all of it – which was great.”

How did you feel about going to ISS?

“I was picked to go on the placement by my school. I’ve never done this type of work before so I really wasn’t sure about it. I have a real problem with confidence too – I always think I can’t do things when actually, once I try, I can!

“I was very worried about starting and thought I wouldn’t be able to complete the tasks given to me. But after my first day I realised I could do it and I finished all the tasks set for me. It’s been such a worthwhile experience and I’ve enjoyed it loads. Plus I picked up new administration skills that I didn't have before.”

What were the best bits about your time at ISS?

“The best bit was being able to feel like part of the company. The people in my department were so welcoming and they seemed really pleased with what I completed during the week. I also really enjoyed being responsible for making sure things were finished properly. Checking that the holiday and sickness days were correct on the payroll was surprisingly fun too – I’d never done anything like that before.”

Would you have chosen this placement yourself?

“No, it wouldn’t have been my first choice at all – mainly because I had no idea what it was! But after being there for a week it's totally changed my mind – and I’m so glad I did it.”

What subjects do you love at school?

“I have a passion for the performing arts. Art, drama and dance are my favourite subjects. I also like religious studies too because I like putting my point across.”

What advice would you give someone who wants to do your work experience placement?

“It’s important to be in the right head-space before you start your placement, so have a good think about what the work placement will offer you and then ask yourself, ‘What do I bring to the place? Do you think I’ll enjoy it if you go there?’

“Also, don’t be tempted to do the same placement as your friends. Be brave. Work experience is a great opportunity to try something new and discover how it feels to be independent – so if your friends are there distracting you, you might not get the most out of it. And when you catch up with them at the end of the week, you’ll have lots to tell them!”

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