Do you ever take teenagers into your business on work experience? Or do you use the excuse of being ‘too busy’, ‘not being insured’ or some other reason? In a time where talent is hard to find, one of the best ways for it to find you is to offer work experience placements.
If you are very clear what your expectations are to whoever approaches you – a school, college, parent or even a young person directly – then you might find that work experience person could, one day, be a valuable employee.
Recently I worked with 17-year-old Lucia Beggan who is a sixth form student and lives in Swindon. She has a part-time job as a cleaner, she is studying A levels with a view to taking a journalism degree. She wanted to know that she has what it takes. I can tell you today, that this skateboarding, bright, passionate yet shy teenager – absolutely has what it takes to make it in the world of the media.
Here’s what she learned on work experience in her own words…
I have been immensely fortunate to have been given a place at Scott Media for my work experience, mentored by freelance journalist and media consultant Fiona Scott. I’ve wanted to be a journalist for years as I grew up reading magazines such as Kerrang and Metalhammer to name a few. As someone who is heavily invested in music, media and the world, this work experience week has been everything I wanted and more. As I entered her office, I felt an instant connection to Fiona – with the same shade of blue in our hair and shared love for humorous notebooks, I knew I was in for a valuable week.
When 17 year old students think of work experience, boredom may instantly spring to mind. This was simply not the case! My first day had me proof reading interviews for Paralympians, business owners, and local heroes, leaving me simply in awe of the wonderous people living right under our noses. I was thrown straight into hard work, and I can confirm journalism is the career I wish to pursue. I was also introduced to Fiona’s colleague Hannah Edwards, who is the most resilient and hardworking woman I’ve ever met. From composing LinkedIn posts for clients, to attending interviews, this week has been nothing short of spectacular!
In the World of Journalism, it is important to be yourself
Fiona gave me lots of advice this week : a good journalist makes clients feel at ease, and the clients will open up more. Being authentic and friendly will get you the best interactions in this business. From watching one of her seminars, I heard a quote that will stick with me – ‘You can’t be all things to everyone’. In this industry, that is vital knowledge – there will always be unpleasant people to deal with. After meeting with a client this week, I’ve learnt the best and most professional thing you can do is to honour positivity, and disregard unconstructive spite. This is also extremely relevant to me: as a teenager who has experienced bullying, I intend to move forward in life and higher education being easier on myself. To quote Oprah Winfrey – “You define your own life. Don’t let other people write your script.” You truly can’t please everyone, and that is the same regardless of your school or workplace, so I’ve learnt this week to focus on my strengths and give myself credit!
Media presence is essential
This week I became familiar with Linkedin – having an online presence is the easiest way to market your business. It is essential to interact with other people to gain a network – all comments, shares and likes boost the algorithm , marketing your content to appropriate audiences. Sitting in one of Fiona’s webinars, I learnt an impressive statistic: a one minute video is worth is 1.4 million words. Furthermore, approximately 82 percent of products sold last year were marketed through video – I had no idea the media and business industry is so reliant on videos.
Do not underestimate local media
For all freelance journalists , becoming known and establishing relationships is crucial, a webinar taught me that submitting locally to pump magazines or local papers is a great thing to do. Even submitting things to the Daily Mail for free publicity has its benefits, as you can include a link to your business and generate traffic to it’s website.
Expect the unexpected
A phrase I’ve heard a lot this week is ‘journalism doesn’t just happen between the hours of 9 and 5’, which is true. We follow a schedule and get certain tasks done by certain times, but anything – be it calls or news alerts – can pop up and we have to adhere. It’s a busy and exciting workplace , completely different from college in the best way possible.
Everybody has a story
I was fortunate enough to interview someone this week who I really admire: Jonathan Antoine. He has a successful music career but has struggled a lot in his life – in this short week alone, I’ve encountered so many people, not one without a story to tell. People are so interesting, people’s lives are interesting, and I haven’t been bored once this week.
Professional photos are important
You can’t go a day in this industry without hearing the word ‘headshot’ – I’ve seen numerous examples of good photos to use on a personal profile since my discovery of LinkedIn. Fiona has many professional headshots as well as arranging them for her clients – key word here is professional. No one wants a selfie when selecting people to work for them – having a strong online presence generates a good first impression.
Portfolios are the way forward
Following this week, I will create a portfolio to showcase articles I have produced, this will help me with interviews and further education. I fully intend to pursue a degree in journalism, or a journalist degree apprenticeship at the BBC
I am enough
This week I demonstrated practical skills; timekeeping, writing things with quality, I have been productive and can definitely envision myself in a working environment such as this one. I have graciously received advice and feedback – and to be completely honest – I am proud of myself. This week at work experience has given me self esteem in knowing I can produce good work, and I will take every opportunityt to develop my skills and experience.