Most of us will remember our work experience week at school at 15/16 years old. Back then, I was interested in becoming a lawyer and when we had professionals come into my school, I was lucky enough to by pure chance, be partnered with someone who was a solicitor. Through this, I was able to take my week’s work expereince at Leicester County Court. I remember at the start of the week being excited and nervous. At 15 I travelled by train alone into Leicester City Centre, something I had not done before. The first trip was extremely exciting as when I was sat amongst all the commuters, I felt very grown up. I had done my research prior to travelling and had memorised the directions (as this was the time before Google Maps or smartphones existed) and walked the short 5-minute journey from the train station to the court. On arrival, all the nerves came upon me, as it was daunting to be in a new place amongst many new people. This was the first time that I had been in a professional workplace/office, and it was great to see how an office looked and to meet everyone.

During my week I was provided with a few tasks, however as you can imagine, I was asked to complete simple things, such as organising many, many files and sending out important letters to people. However, the week got more interesting when I had the opportunity on a couple of days to sit in the court (right beneath the judge) and watch the court sessions. I remember the looks on some peoples faces in the court, clearly puzzled as to why a young person was sat in on the session. My work experience week was informative, and a great opportunity. I remember being grateful that my week had provided me with an insight into the career that I was interested in at that point, whereas a lot of my friends ended up something very far from what they wanted to do and sadly disengaged from the benefits of a work experience week.

The fact that I remember quite a lot about my work expereince week is a fantastic example of how these weeks are invaluable to all young people. Work experiences are vital to all young people and in many cases where young people are unable to find a local part time job, they offer the opportunity to gain an insight into the real world of work. It develops their soft skills – things that are not necessarily taught in a classroom, including learning how to interact with people of various ages.

Pick Everard have supported young people with work experience weeks for many years and at all of our offices, we endeavour to support the requests that we receive. Work expereince for us, forms part of our STEM strategy and is just one of our initiatives. By investing in young people, we are helping to develop and nurture the next generation. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that for the past 18 months the vast majority of our people were working from home, meaning that during this time we were unable to support work expereince requests. We were not alone as many companies we also unable to provide young people with the experience, which has meant that for 1,000’s, the important experiences that they would gain were not possible.

The Diana Award is a charity that provides support and guidance to young people through a variety of initiatives and programmes. I was contacted by The Diana Award to take part in their first virtual work experience event. The event was designed to help and engage the young people who have been left without the chance to gain work expereince. The event was held over a week in July and saw businesses from a variety of sectors involved, including representatives from the NHS, law firms and marketing companies.

 My colleague and I had the fantastic opportunity to host a 1-hour presentation to talk about Pick Everard, our services, discuss our career paths and provide advice about beginning a career within the construction industry. We ensured that our presentation was interactive and through this we received a high level of engagement from the students throughout. I am currently in the process of arranging some future inhouse work expereince weeks for a few of the students, as we are now able to do so with the move to hybrid working. This further demonstrates the power of this event.

As much of the country, and the world, adapt to a more virtual world bought on by Covid-19, we cannot forget the importance of in-person events and experiences that we can all benefit and learn from. We must also remember to consider the benefits to our companies and industries that work expereince and investing in young people can provide.