Why work experience isn’t scary (honest!)

Why work experience isn’t scary (honest!)

Feeling daunted about doing work experience? Don’t – there’s no need! plotr asks five Year 10 pupils what their placement was really like


Freaking out about doing work experience? If you’ve never been into a real-life workplace, the idea can be nerve-racking as you don’t quite know what to expect. 

So, to set your mind at ease before your placement starts, take a look at what five Year 10 pupils from Surrey’s Bishop David Brown School had to say about their placements at ISS. (Don’t worry, they hadn’t heard of it either! ISS is one of the biggest providers of catering, security, hospitality and maintenance services in the UK).

“I quickly overcame my shyness” - Alana Georgiou

Alana spent a week in the finance department at ISS. Her favourite subject at school is history, but she wanted to try something completely different. Did she make the right decision?   

“Yes, definitely! I got to work closely with one person and learnt how to file invoices – which was really interesting. I also got to see all the big companies that ISS works with, like Hewett Packard and KPMG. I loved learning about what the money is spent on at ISS, and enjoyed walking to the bank to pay in cheques. I’m also quite shy and that made the placement a bit difficult at first, but I quickly overcame my shyness because everyone I met was so nice.”

“I got to write an article for the ISS magazine” - Callum Leslie

Callum had never heard of ISS until a teacher told him they offer work experience placements. Turning up at the company for his week in the communications department, he had he had no idea what to expect. So, what happened? 

“Until a few weeks before my placement, I’d never heard of ISS – but I loved being in the office! During my placement I got to write an article for the ISS monthly magazine which is read by all their employees, and another one for the ISS phone app. English is my favourite subject at school and I’m really pleased that I got to use my writing skills. I enjoyed the atmosphere at ISS so much that now I’m thinking about working there in the future…”

“I used to think big companies were boring. Not any more! ” - Janet Fitzsimmons

Janet used think that big companies were boring. She was all set to do her work experience at a fast food chain when a friend told her about ISS! She changed her mind and was offered a place in the human resources (HR – the department of a company that’s responsible for hiring and training its staff). So, after her week at ISS, does she still think businesses are boring? 

“No way! The work I did was fun and gave me a good idea about what goes on in a company like ISS. I had to go through people’s CVs to see if they were right for a job and I got to work at my own desk – which I loved. At school my favourite subject is IT so it was great that I got to work on a computer when I was at ISS.  Everything about my placement was great – it was inspiring and I learnt new things every day.”

“Not sure what to do? Just ask!” - Kenny Gangoso

Kenny had often seen the ISS logo on the sides of vans and wondered what it was the company did – so he leapt at the chance to do work experience with their training and healthcare department. Was it what he expected? 

“Before going to ISS I’d never set foot in a proper workplace before – but I wanted to do this work experience so I could see what it’s like to work in an office (how people act and what they do). ISS has lots of university graduates working for them all over the country. I helped to make a PowerPoint presentation that showed where they were – which was something I’d never done before and it was good fun.”

“Sitting in on meetings was really interesting” - Lily Ball

Lily’s favourite subjects at school are psychology and history, and she was excited about doing work experience at the HR department at ISS. What were her favourite moments during the week? 

“I worked on the ‘competitor and client analysis project’, which is where you look at how companies similar to ISS are doing. So I got to study how different companies are changing and developing – which was actually really interesting! I also enjoyed sitting in the meetings, as I had never been in one before. It was great to discover how they functioned and what sort of issues get discussed. My top tip is always to have a notepad with you. You never know when you may need to jot down a task or take some notes.”

Next: Get inspired by the ISS employer zone on Plotr!

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