Mumsnet and LifeSkills
Mumsnet is delighted to be supporting the Barclays LifeSkills programme. Carrie Longton, co-founder of Mumsnet, is an ambassador for the programme.
Here are Carrie's thoughts on LifeSkills:
"I have been really impressed with the programme's genuine passion and dedication to giving young people the skills they need both to understand the world of work better and to help them make informed choices about their future careers.
Too many children are living in job-free households and even those with parents in work can have a very narrow view of the sorts of jobs on offer. By taking the initiative to link up schools with business, Barclays with the help from their partners, hope to give up to a million young people the chance to undertake meaningful work experience."
In the summer of 2013 Alexander Lamburn came to the Mumsnet offices for a week of work experience between school and college. Here he offers some insight on what he gained from it, and what advice he'd give to others:
"Work experience at Mumsnet gave me insight into how a business operates on all the different levels. Gaining an idea of the big picture of Mumsnet was quite easy because internally the company is quite small. It was interesting to see how the different components are drawn together. I experienced sales, editorial, the Mumsnet community team who monitor the talk boards, project management and client relations. For me, the best part was sitting in on the direct contact Mumsnet was having with clients including Barclays, Saatchi and Saatchi, Topman and British Gas.
From the different work experience placements I have done, I think it is most important to ask lots of questions, follow instructions carefully, use initiative where there is opportunity and try to merge seamlessly in with the team. Politeness and enthusiasm should probably be a given and will encourage whoever is looking after you to make the experience as interesting as possible."
We hosted Lilly Werth at Mumsnet Towers last summer and hope to welcome one or two more students in the next couple of months. Here's what Lilly had to say about her experience:
"This was my first experience in an office environment. I was quite nervous, and expected it to be intimidating and rather boring but everyone was so welcoming and friendly, always keen to include me in what they were doing (including their lunch plans). I was given tasks that made me feel valued and useful. It was so good to be actively doing things, not just sitting and watching. Every day brought something different. For example, one day I was taken to a farm for the launch of a new yogurt from Ella's Kitchen. The next I was in the city to sit in on a meeting. I was also able to become more independent, getting the tube to the office every day as opposed to the bus."
Here's some of our top tips for getting the most out of your work experience candidate, so that the experience is beneficial all round:
- Ask around the office before they come to see if anyone has anything they could do that would really help, so there's something concrete for them to work on.
- Introduce them to a few different departments so they can get a full grasp of your business. Make sure they have one person they know they can go to if they don't know what they are doing or what to do next.
- Take them to meetings, both internal and external. It's amazing what seems mundane to us can be a whole new world for them.
- It's helpful to get them to take notes at meetings, and ask them afterwards what they thought the key actions/points of interest were in the meeting. Explain what would normally happen next and where possible, let them get involved or sit in, so they can get a fuller picture of what the meetings are for.
- If you can, get them to do something that is going to be useful to the business and they can see being used. We got Alexander to research Topman on the Mumsnet boards prior to a meeting with them. He came along to the meeting and was able to comment when we presented his information. He also wore Topman which helped.
- Do get them to talk to recruitment people in your organisation if you have them and any young people who have recently joined to get a realistic picture of what it would take to get a job.