How work experience helps young people’s careers

Claire Scaramanga talks to two work experience students about how it can help with young people's careers.

For International Youth Day 2022, Megan Deefholts who previously did work experience with Scaramanga, and Emilia Zucchelli who is currently on her work experience with Scaramanga, join host Claire Scaramanga to discuss how work experience can help young people with their careers.

Transcript

Claire Scaramanga

Hello, everybody, welcome to the Scaramanga Podcast ‘Talk Too Much’ with me today we have Emelia, and Megan. So Emelia is currently doing her work experience with Scaramanga and Megan did in 2019. So we wanted to talk about work experience and how it can really help students and young people with their careers.

From Scaramanga’s point of view, it’s something that we’ve been supporting for a number of years now and think it’s very important to give people a start in life and, find the right career choice for them and I wish it was something that had been around many years ago when I went to school. It would have been great. So welcome to Meghan, Emelia.

Megan Deefholts

Hi, thank you.

Claire Scaramanga

So if we could start off, could you each give me an introduction to yourself and also what your work experience was like, Megan would you like to go first?

Megan Deefholts

Sure. Yes. Thank you. So hello, I’m Megan. I did a work experience placement with Scaramanga two or three, probably three years ago. Now, when I was at the end of my second year at university. Over the summer period, I was really interested in the creative digital industry, particularly marketing. So it was sort of the perfect work experience, just to get a bit of insight into how the industry works, what kind of roles that are in the industry, and just generally find out what I was interested in. Since then, I’ve finished university, graduated, and I’ve started a role in a digital agency, where I’m a project manager.

Claire Scaramanga

And Emelia?

Emilia Zucchelli

So I’m Emilia, I’m currently, well, I’ve just finished my GCSEs. I’m currently doing work experience with Scaramanga. I’m here, to get experience mainly, because of COVID, my whole plans have been disrupted. I am interested in the media and marketing industry but I’m here just to get some experience and I’ve been here for a day, and I’ve loved it. So yeah, hopefully, this week will be good.

Claire Scaramanga

Thank you very much. I just wanted to chat about, as I’ve said, why we offer work experiences. Just wondering from, your perspectives, why you think that’s important. So why is it important to you Emilia?

Emilia Zucchelli

I think it’s really important to gain new knowledge, new skills, and that could potentially give you a head start into future applications for jobs that I may have. So I feel like this would definitely give me an advantage, having this experience and acquiring these new skills will definitely be beneficial.

Claire Scaramanga

It’s a different world, isn’t it? To School.

Emilia Zucchelli

Yeah.

Megan Deefholts

Yeah, I think I will say exactly that, studying, whether it’s at school level, college or university level, it’s just so different to the world of work and really, the only way to, you know, understand how it all works is just having experience and yeah, doing work experience is just so so helpful to get to know how office dynamics work, how things are just different, how your kind of nine to five day might be a bit different. And I think as well as Emelia said, it’s so helpful for when you move on from your work experience, and you’re looking for jobs out in the big wide world, it’s really helpful to have something to lean back on, and talk about in interviews, and to talk about throughout your kind of your next sort of experience of all jobs. So, yeah, really, really helpful.

Claire Scaramanga

We took on a digital marketing apprentice about three or four months ago and one of the things that she commented on when going for interviews for an apprenticeship was that employers were expecting her to know her field, which seems somewhat illogical when that’s what the whole purpose of an apprenticeship is. So I’ve always felt that work experience probably enables you to say, well, it’s a short experience, but it’s given me something tangible of being able to say yes, I know exactly what that involves. Would that be your experience?

Megan Deefholts

Definitely, I think as well, having that experience with you back sort of three years ago, made me realise how many things I didn’t know and how much that is out there and that was great because it made me go away, look up what some of the terms that were being used some of these sort of practices and methodologies, whatever. But, also, I suppose, armed me a bit when I went into job interviews or went into a new work experience, or now my full time job, I’d sort of heard of these things, and I knew a bit about them but I actually could say, this really interested me when I did my work experience with Scaramanga and I don’t know much about it but I’d really love to sort of pick it up now and see if this is something I’m interested in or explore a bit more.

So I think, yeah, as well as just getting a good foundation level of understanding at work experience, it also opens up, a whole world of things you don’t know, and can go on to sort of explore. So yes, was really helpful for that.

Claire Scaramanga

Do you think as well as that sort of knowledge and insight, did it have much weight in helping you get your first role?

Megan Deefholts

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I think I could talk about the application process and when I got to the interview stage, I could refer back and talk to experiences I had at Scaramanga and then actually, after getting the job itself, yeah, I just felt that bit more prepared, I suppose for what it’s like in the industry and just generally what I could expect.

I think just having it on my CV, as well, and being able to talk some of those key different things I did, which was, you know, really quite broad and varied, which was amazing. Because I could say, you know, one day I looked at this thing, and the next day, I looked at that to have, you know, 5,6,7 bullet points of things you really explored in that time and really, yeah, put me in a good position when going forward for different jobs and things.

Claire Scaramanga

And for you, Emelia, we’re sort of trying to give you a little bit of an insight and introduction to all of the different areas we work in, apart from coding we’re not making you learn that. But how will you sort of – I know, it’s early days. Are you finding that?

Emilia Zucchelli

Yeah, no, I really like it. I was quite surprised, especially working with Kieran yesterday, how he was posting social media posts on different platforms, how much work actually goes into it and I thought that was really interesting and like Megan was saying, just it’s so different from school or even posting on my personal social media, it’s completely different for businesses. Social media is like two different things.

Even doing this podcast is a good experience. Learning different things, different areas and two completely different things really helped me.

Claire Scaramanga

And I think even if you choose not to have a career in marketing, which I hope you do, because I think it’s a brilliant career choice. Even if you don’t, it will you better make an informed decision.

Questions to both of you, really, but so starting off with Emelia, I mean, you should have done your work placements a couple of years ago, but so the pandemics had an impact on you.

Emilia Zucchelli

Yeah. It’s made a big impact but I think maybe because I’m more mature now, as if I was doing this a couple of years ago, I think it would have been very different, I’m more confident now than I was, like, two years ago when I was supposed to do this. So I think yeah, it has disrupted it, but also made it a bit easier for me.

Megan Deefholts

Obviously, I finished university, early 2020. So around the time when everything sort of blew up with the pandemic, and I was really lucky that I did have an internship lined up, but I know there was a real period of course, where it was really difficult to get work experience, internships, full time jobs after finishing uni or coming out of school. I think now it seems like things have opened up a bit more hopefully and actually, if anything, employers are more open to different and more hybrid ways of working, which has been you know, fantastic in the job I’m in now it’s hybrid. So some days I’m in the office, some days I’m at home and it just really works for what I need in my balancing, my work and outside of work life. So yes, It’s been a tough time, I think lots of people but hopefully now we are at the other side for the better.

Fingers crossed. Yeah, we supported the University of Kent’s employability program, points program for a few years and I’m a graduate from the University of Kent, but, we weren’t able to do that for the pandemic. It just didn’t work. But this year, we’re back and we have a student who is at the end of her first year of study, and she was joining us in the beginning of September, just before term starts again so it’s great to be back involved in the program again.

It does make such a difference. Nice to hear that someone else will get some experience from Kent.

Claire Scaramanga

Just wrap everything up, what advice would you both give to other students to help support their career development?

Emilia Zucchelli

Well, I’m just starting as well but from what I’ve kind of gathered, I think definitely work experience, really, in any kind of industry is just so helpful and I’ve only been here for a day, but I’ve learned and acquired loads of skills, organisation, time management, which is really important, not just for work, but for everyday life. I would definitely say it’s very, important.

Megan Deefholts

I think, a big one is just saying yes, and putting yourself forward for for all these kinds of things, it’s so easy to see areas that you think I’ve never done that before, not sure if I’d even enjoy that. But half of what work experiences for his understanding what you don’t love as well as much as what you do love. So I think just say yes to every opportunity you can, and that can hold you in good stead.

I think as well, it’s really important at the same time to constantly reflect back on all these little things that you’re doing and look back at where you were, say two years ago, because it’s so easy to think, oh, gosh, there’s, there’s so much out there and that’s true, you should always be ambitious, and keep pushing more for work experience, but, it’s also important to recognise, how far you’ve come, all the skills you’ve developed, like Emelia was saying, in a day, she can already see how she’s picked up new skills and starting to understand new things. So, yeah, when you zoom out and think about that over longer periods, it does really does show how important this work experience is.

Claire Scaramanga

Anything else either of you have to add?

Emilia Zucchelli

No, that’s it really, just what Megan was saying, just take that opportunity, if you have it, put yourself out there because it will pay off eventually.

Megan Deefholts

I think as well, make as many connections as you can, throughout these work experiences, connect on LinkedIn and just generally stay in touch because you know, the world is round and it really helps to have really good connections in the industries you’re interested in.

Claire Scaramanga

Well, Emelia, set up her LinkedIn profile yesterday.

Megan Deefholts

Amazing! On the right track already.

Emilia Zucchelli

Yeah

Claire Scaramanga

Well, thank you both very much for taking part and thank you all so both very much for all of your hard work and commitment when you did do work experience or as Emilia is doing currently work experience with us so thank you very much, much, appreciate your time today.

Megan Deefholts

Thank you

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