How I did my first ever week’s work in Croydon

By - Wednesday 13th July, 2016

Edmund Jones wonders if he’ll be a full-time member of Croydon’s workforce one day

I was born in Croydon, I go to school in Croydon, and I just did my first ever Monday to Friday working week in Croydon. I’m nearly fifteen, and in May 2016 I spent a week on work experience at a local PR company. It was a very interesting week and I’d like to share my experience of work in Croydon as well as my view of how one local business helped to prepare me for the world of work.

My whole year 10 group took part in the work experience programme. Archbishop Tenison’s, my school, was very active in helping students find their placements and sorting out and arranging work for those who could not find a placement by their own efforts. The school was determined to make sure that everyone took part in the week of work experience, saying that it was very important to gain experience of the real world.

If I could do it again, I wouldn’t be nearly so nervous

On Monday 6th June, I arrived promptly at the company’s office. My mind was racing; I was wondering what work I would be doing, if the staff were nice and what the working environment would be like. It felt strange and surreal: I could remember as if it was yesterday joining year 7 in secondary school. And now here I was, heading off to work. I had never done anything like that before and so had no idea what I was in for. If I could do it again I would tell myself to not be so nervous: the staff were all lovely and friendly and the work that I was doing was varied. It gave me a real insight into the work of a PR company.

After the first day of getting used to the office, the week flew by. I was involved in the setting up of conference spaces, helping out at events and promotional roles in the run-up to the events that the company organised. What I learned was that in events the work is always different and varied, one week’s work will be completely different to the previous week’s. I got a real insight into working life and met people who generously gave me advice and tips.

Will I work in Croydon one day?

Being at work also made me think on my time in school. This is so short compared to a lifetime and this highlighted for me how important it really is to make the most of every day. Being a worker made me think harder about how I might use the rest of my time in school and put into perspective how important education really is.

Will I work in Croydon one day? Well… I want to take a look around first! But never say never: I hope that Croydon continues to attract new businesses and companies to start up here. I’m very excited about the work that Croydon Tech City is doing and I very much want our town to become a thriving tech hub. I hope that in the future Croydon becomes a place where people can make the most of themselves in every way, rather than a place that the ambitious want to leave.

The whole experience was very eye-opening, if a little scary. It was very useful and really did help my confidence. It also helped me to gain knowledge around how to act in a working environment. So altogether I’d say that it was a week well spent. That glimpse of the future was invaluable to my life ahead as I make the transition from pupil to pioneer.

Edmund Jones

Edmund Jones

Edmund is in year 11 at Archbishop Tenison's School, Croydon. He is a school house captain, enjoys travelling and playing chess, is a film enthusiast and has represented his school at swimming.

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  • Anne Giles

    Great article, Edmund!

  • Sean Creighton

    You certainly had a good experience Edmund.

    It’s good that the school was actively involved. I have been told that many schools no longer are actively engaged, and expect parents and pupils to find work placements. This obviously makes it difficult for some pupils whose parents are not linked to people in work places.

    Many small businesses and community and voluntary groups may be daunted at the idea.

    On the occasions when I was in a position work wise to take on work placement pupils, I found that having a discussion with prospective pupils and the teacher responsible for work placements helped to decide whether or not what I could offer tied in with pupils interests. In one placement the pupil designed a logo for a newly forming community group, which it adopted. In another the pupil attended meetings and helped to take notes of it, learning about the purpose of meetings. In a third the pupil helped aspects of local music history, and set up the display format for it to shown at an event.

    Yes time has to be spent supervising, but with the pre-planning there can be added value.

    Last year Croydon Councillor Jamie Audsley launched an initiative re-work placements. It would be useful if he would provide an up-date on progress through Croydon Citizen.

  • Alan Reynolds

    Brilliant. When in the 1990s I had charge of a Directorate in a Government Dept I invited my teams to offer their children a week or fortnight’s work experience in our organisation during school hols. Several took it up and it was interesting for both us and them. I recall we later offered one or two short engagements via a staff bureau agency as Govt rules made it too difficult to take on as formal employees. I would encourage other employers to do this if their staff want to introduce children to the real world of work