Work Placement – Administrator at Sound Thinking Ltd

Contributor: Claire

What? Administrator for Sound Thinking Ltd (an Educational Psychologist and Speech Therapist Team)

Why did you choose this place? I was recommended to contact Julia (the educational psychologist) by one of the teachers where I did some work experience, who is also the sister of another employer.

How did you find the application process? I met with Julia initially intending to ask for some voluntary work, but she then said she would be able to hire me as an administrator, along with some possible voluntary work with Rebecca Hill, the predominant Speech Therapist of the company. Initially it was only 8 hours a week, but as the company has gone from strength to strength my hours have increased!

What do you do here? As Julia completes assessments, I enter the background information provided, gathering important conclusions from the given information; enter the appropriate psychometric assessment information; and Julia’s observations into the report structure. I ensure that this in the current and appropriate format. I also enter the majority of information into Access Arrangements, ready to then be approved and any other information added. Additionally I have other administrator duties such as organisation, creating files, photocopying, sending emails, posting etc. Obviously all documents I edit are approved by Julia after, but the fact that the bulk of the information is entered into the document, makes the report process quicker.

The good things: I love working here! It gives me a great insight into the other allied health professionals that often work with Speech Therapists. Julia and Rebecca are really helpful and I can borrow resources. I have an understanding of a good quality report, and using assessments and the statistics involved. As well as increased ability to examine the information in front of me and piece judgements together to make valid conclusions.

The bad things: None!

Anything else we should know: I am really grateful to have this position! I think those who want to pursue speech and language therapy should not underestimate the value of working with the other allied health professionals, because it gives you an insight into the thinking of those who may be on your future teams!

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Work Placement – Student Ambassador – UWE

Contributor: Amy

Where? UWE
What? Student Ambassador
Why did you choose this place? I am a student at UWE and wanted to make the most of opportunities that are only available whilst at university before it is too late.
How did you find the application process? Easy. I had to fill in an online application form stating previous relevant experience and why I wanted to be an ambassador. Then I attended a group interview and training.
What do you do here? I help at events that happen at the university. I have assisted at graduation ceremonies, school visits to campus and generally directing people around the university. I helped over Freshers’ week, guiding Freshers around the university.
The good things: Good pay, flexibility (you are emailed different jobs and have the options of applying for it, or not. This was really good around exam time, as I wasn’t required to do a minimum number of shifts so I could concentrate on my studies), meeting other student ambassadors, working with a variety of people (school and college students, lecturers and academics, university staff) which I believe has improved my confidence in communicating with different people.
The bad things: The only bad thing I can think of is that getting shifts can sometimes be competitive as there are over 200 ambassadors at the university competing for the same jobs. However because I have never missed a shift, been late or haven’t pulled my weight, I am often chosen for the roles I apply for.
Anything else we should know: I would definitely recommend being a student ambassador!

Work Placement – Vocational Mentor – UWE Volunteering

Contributor: Amy

Where? Weston College
What? Vocational Mentoring Pilot Scheme
Why did you choose this place? An opportunity came up at my university (UWE) to go into a local college and mentor students on a vocational course. I was placed at Weston College by UWE.
 How did you find the application process? Fairly straightforward. I had to fill in an online application form, stating previous relevant experience and why I wanted to apply. Then I had a group interview which involved group activities.
What do you do here? I went to Weston College for a couple of hours each week and was available for drop in sessions to the college students if they wanted advice about Higher Education or help with their coursework.
The good things: Working in a new environment and communicating with students. I also had to be organised to balance the time with my studies.
The bad things: The nature of the drop in meant that some weeks I would go to the college and not mentor any students. 
Anything else we should know: If I could do it again, I would attempt to arrange regular mentoring sessions for a small group of students. This would guarantee attendance each week and would hopefully allow me to make a notable impact with mentoring. Whilst drop in sessions are flexible for students at the college, it meant that mentoring was not a priority and sometimes forgotten. Despite this, I still think that mentoring is a valuable experience.

Work Placement – British Gas Call Centre

Contributor: Jason
Where? Conduit, Cardiff
What? Call Centre Agent
Why did you choose this place? It had a vacancy, I don’t have the option to have choice.
How did you find the application process? Lengthy. A phone interview, followed by online tests and then a one on one interview and test.
What do you do here? Advise British Gas customers on their gas/electrical breakdowns or services and promote products.
The good things: Friendly environment, promotional prospects and Inbound instead of Outbound
The bad things: Low pay, difficult to learn everything and understand all customers
Anything else we should know: An ideal first job if graduate employment is dire.

Work Placement – Research Assistant

Contributor: Stacey
Where? The Full English, Clifton, Bristol
What? Research Assistant for English language academics
Why did you choose this place? The activities of the company suited my skills and interests
How did you find the application process? Very straight forward: sent in my CV and cover letter after coming across an ad for the job position on my university’s job mailing list. Was invited for interview and then offered the position.
What do you do here? I mainly prepare research documents for projects relating to English academia. This includes: data entry in spreadsheets and databases; sourcing project data, books and journal articles; maintaining records; preparing bibliographies, indexes and references; developing online questionnaires; proofreading research papers and articles; writing copy for marketing materials and setting up online booking systems.
 
The good things: My employers are fantastic – they are incredibly flexible in terms of working your hours around uni life, they are interested in helping young people and therefore they constantly look for opportunities to help guide you in your future career path and they have a unilateral managerial approach meaning that they ask for your input when considering how to improve the company or run things better. The fact that it’s a micro company means that you’re given a lot of responsibility and gain a great deal of experience.
The bad things: Some tasks can be a little dull but then again the good working environment makes up for it. No full time work prospects within the company itself.
Anything else we should know: This position really compliments your studies especially if you are studying subjects such as English/Linguistics/Languages/Journalism/Media etc.

Work Placement – English Language Assistant (France) – TESOL

Contributor: Stacey
Where? Lycee Louis Armand, Paris
What? English Language Assistant
Why did you choose this place? I needed to find work placements during my Erasmus year abroad in Paris and this seemed like a good opportunity.
How did you find the application process? Quite straight forward. My university promoted the placement to us and handed us the application forms. However, I am aware that you can apply through the British Council website online as well.
What do you do here? I planned and taught English lessons to college students aged from 15-25, including both one-to-one sessions and classes of up to 15. I had 12 hours of teaching a week.
The good things: Well paid – 800 euros a month for 12 hours a week (although you usually spend a couple of hours a week extra planning). The minimal hours mean that you have extra time to explore the country that you are living in. It’s also good to have on your CV that you have worked for the British Council. You can be sent as far as Latin America and Canada if you want to. You do not need a TEFL qualification.
The bad things: Kids and teenagers can be difficult to work with! Having said that you are not there to discipline so you can always get a teacher if you are having problems. Some teachers will just want to use you to ‘get rid’ of some of their pupils for a while so may lump you with half their class without much guidance. You have to cover transport costs to and from the country you are working in.
Anything else we should know: You don’t have to be student or on Erasmus to get this role – graduates can apply too. In fact, some countries are only open to graduates.