By Alexandra Tair, 15, Year 10, Outwood Academy City
I am in my second year of the Cutlers’ Ambassadors programme, engineering strand, run by The work-wise Foundation, as part of the programme I get the opportunity to take part in a work experience placement.
For my work experience, I worked with the company CQ Strategic Marketing. All week I worked with Jackie Cook, the Managing Director and Founder of the CQ Strategic Marketing and CQ Marketing Academy, she is a lovely lady and she is dedicated and passionate about her work. All throughout the week, Jackie treated me like one of her staff members rather than a student on work experience.
On the first day of my work experience, I went to Rollem in Barnsley. Throughout the time there I was treated like a work colleague not a student. The atmosphere was so warming and kind. They seemed very work-driven but they were also having a laugh and taking a few breaks here and there to ask me if I needed anything like a drink. Going to somewhere I had never been before, such as Barnsley, and meeting new people was a very scary but exciting experience. This trip took me far out of my comfort zone and this made me enjoy my day even more. The trip made me more confident in the way I act around new people. I enjoyed being in a working environment because it wasn’t something I had done before and I am grateful I had the opportunity to venture somewhere new and meet lovely new people.
In the afternoon, Jackie had a meeting at her office with a lovely lady called Lyndsey Pitchley from Rotherham and Barnsley Mind. While they were having this meeting I was working on back dating Jackie’s old news articles. The atmosphere was lovely, even though they were still working, it made me feel like they were just having a friendly catch-up. All the people I have met so far are so passionate about their jobs and they are so confident with the things they want in life. The people I met were the highlight of my day and also getting out of my comfort zone by meeting these new people.
On the second day, we ventured to Leeds to go to the LBBC Technologies. On our journey there Jackie told me about LBBC is all about and it was fascinating. I was very excited to go to Leeds as it is one of my favourite places in the country, mainly because I am a Leeds United fan. When getting to the company, it was very quiet because I knew people were working hard on all sorts of stuff, they was a few laughs here and there which made me believe that the office is a fun one, even though it may be serious work. That day I focussed on writing up and scheduling social media posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I also completed backdating Jackie’s old news articles. This morning felt different from the day before because there was a lot less talking and the atmosphere was very serious. Plans had changed because we were originally supposed to go to LBBC Beechwood but events occurred which meant we couldn’t go to the office. We went to Jackie’s office and I started writing about my experience in the Cutlers’ Ambassadors Programme, which is the reason for my work placement.
On the third day, we went to Barnsley but this time it was to the company Red Dog Linings. Once again, on our journey there, Jackie told me about the company and the people that worked there. I didn’t really interact with people much because we were sat in a separate office and the staff were doing their jobs. As soon as I walked into the building I felt welcomed by the way the building was set out and the way it didn’t look like an business but more like a community centre. The people I did speak to were so kind and very welcoming, they also didn’t treat me like a student but like a staff member who works alongside them. In the afternoon, we had a meeting with Ash Hammond from Spotlight Studios and Elizabeth Bonfield from BMPCA. Ash and Elizabeth both very confident and that made me realise that to get places, you have to be confident and just be you and that is exactly what they were doing. They are both lovely people and they got on with Jackie really well, I was pleased to see the dedication that Ash, Elizabeth and Jackie all have for their work. This day made me realise how important time management is because of the tight schedule we had, it made me realise that you needed to plan your day if it was going to be a busy one and keeping on that schedule helps keep things organised. I also realised that being successful is how you view it, whether it be owning your own business or working away from home.
On the fourth day, we had a meeting with Alan Lyons from AMRC with Boeing and Sophie Patton from Connect Yorkshire and they are lovely people. I believe that they were both very successful people and it seemed like that because of the way they worked and they recourses and connections they had. Jackie even got Sophie to buy some Leaders in Heels products, which is a win for Jackie because she hasn’t officially announced the partnership with Leaders in Heels. From leaving the meeting I realised that in the AMRC Cafe there was only men and that made me think that you have to be strong headed and willing to push the boundaries if you want to be involved in the engineering and manufacturing industry.
On the last day, I focussed on social media for Jackie’s clients and also packaging gifts from Leaders in Heels for female leaders and that have wide networks and connections.
Over the week, I have developed my skills, met new people, learnt what it was like in a working environment and came out of my comfort zone. By the end of the week, I didn’t want to leave. The experience has been great and I want to keep in contact with Jackie to see how much progress she will make with the Leaders in Heels, CQ Strategic Marketing and CQ Strategic Marketing Academy. I want the best for everyone involved and I want to thank everyone I met over the week for making me feel welcome.
Jackie Cook, Managing Director said “Alex has been willing to learn, reliable, enthusiastic and behaved in a professional manner throughout’s the week’s work experience. She has been a pleasure to work with and I would consider employing her if a suitable opportunity arose in the future.”