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#summerfun - Exploring career options through work experience

17 August 2016

Summer Fun - Gaining experience this summer

Having finished my AS exams, as I begin the application process for University, I realised that I have no clue what to study at university or if I want to go at all. When conjuring the first draft of my personal statement it became clear that it is vital to talk about any work experience you have under your belt… but I had minimal amounts under mine! So, in need of some worldly advice, I took it upon myself to speak with an external careers adviser which surprisingly unearthed a whole host of potential career paths; I was then advised to simply: “pick one and run with it”. To narrow down these options before choosing just one, it was suggested that I should gain some work experience - but how would I be able to choose a work to experience, if I didn’t know what work I wanted to do?

As advised, I picked one and ran with it, and found myself at Prospects.

My time at Prospects began following the footsteps of the PR Manager in the Sales & Marketing department. I explained to my mentor on arrival, just how unsure I am regarding what I want to do once I finish my education. With that she quickly organised an itinerary which invited me to work in various departments at the Prospects office throughout my week long placement. This not only gave me the opportunity to talk to many people to discover what life in an office is really like, but to learn how these business men and women transitioned from education into employment and ended up in their line of work.

I was soon introduced to a number of job roles I didn’t know existed and was even allowed the chance to give them a go. During my week in the office I analysed data to produce some graphs and managed social media accounts. I was involved in the designing of advertisement material, and even wrote my very own press release, column and blog on behalf of Prospects, all to be published in the near future!

To conclude my experience at Prospects I spent some time in the National Careers Service department in the hope that they could get me a little closer to deciding the next step in my life… and they did just that. The National Careers Service offer top notch, unbiased and impartial advice to help anyone who needs help when choosing or changing career – all for free!

I was firstly shown around their website and the career tools they offer, that would assist me in firming up my choices for the future. To find out more about my strengths and personality type, and how they might help me perform well in certain types of jobs, I took the Skills Health Check Quizzes. Following completion of these, I soon received a report summarising my results which included career paths areas that might suit me.

Having explored the facilities available on the National Careers Service website, I know I will be using a handful of the tools such as the Action Plan Tool in the near future to guide me through the process of choosing a career.

Not only was I gaining an invaluable insight into a successful business during my work experience, but all skills I had collated during my time at Prospects, are in fact entirely transferrable into any line of work that I may pursue in the future. It just so happened that the company I found myself in, were experts in giving me the support and advice I needed to help make quite a big decision, a little easier.

This was simply an added bonus to the experience I had already gained at Prospects and I never anticipated my time in an office to be this helpful and enjoyable!

My work placement has given me a real sense of achievement as I developed a number of new skills, but I am also now aware, thanks to the tools provided online by the National Careers Service, of the attributes I already possess and how useful they will be in a working environment.

Although still unsure where I will end up after completing A-levels, I now feel confident in the free guidance that will always be available to me, and I am reassured in my own abilities that I can cope and thrive in a working environment once leaving education.

Katie Theobald worked for Prospects in their Taunton office. To find out about work experience opportunities at Prospects email

The #summerfun campaign is run by Prospects, the education, employment and skills company, which gives young people awaiting their exam results advice on how to use their summer break to improve their employability and skills.

follow us on Twitter @ProspectsGroup

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