Any office workers give my DS17 a few pointers please(23 Posts)
DS17 left school last summer, tried college and hated it. He left in November and has been trying to get an apprenticeship in IT ever since.
He's been for about 6 interviews and just keeps getting knocked back. Anyway after loads of coaching from me he went for an interview last week and did really well. The MD really liked him and was impressed with his knowledge of the company and his enthusiasm. The job is to keep the social media side of things up and running, helping with IT systems and supporting the sales/admin team.
He's been invited for a taster day next Wednesday in the office. They have some activities planned for him to do but I'm totally stumped as to how to help him further. I'm a primary school teacher and have never worked in an office environment.Apart from making tea and coffee what else can he be seen to be doing.
Thanks in advance
Take (and use!) a notebook - it looks keen and committed. Also encourages people to get him involved as they will have faith that he is listening etc. Can also refer back and ask questions afterwards.
Hopefully they will have a plan for him - but if he's feeling a bit abandoned, I'd say be proactive and ask if he can shadow particular people from each dept for an hour e.g. 'I'm a bit quiet here and no-one needs any help, is there anyone in the IT department I could shadow for a bit perhaps?'
Otherwise, be friendly, smile and again, be pro-active. Is there anything I can help with? Anything I can proof read for you? Anything need tidying?! And yes, tea / coffee / food run always appreciated!
Fusion, that's brilliant! I'll get him a notebook, that's a great idea and have actually seen student teachers writing loads down (that soon stops lol) but definitely shows he's committed.
He really wants this apprenticeship and it's a small family run firm that have good prospects. There is another female Apprentice there too so I've told him to ask her lots of questions.
All this for just £130 a week! But hopefully further employment will result
Tell him not to have his phone out and on all the time!!!
yes, yes to above. Also ask questions, look interested at all times, make comments to confirm he is following what he is being shown.
Go to lunch with everyone if he can, show an interest in them or their conversations and that he is sociable, friendly and will fit in with the team.
Be on time, smile. look people in the eye, look interested, be polite and walk and move with a bit of energy. Notebook is good, hold the door for people. Dress appropriately and yes, don't sit on the phone.
All the best to him, hope he gets it
Make sure he knows to appear engaged with whoever he is sat with. There's nothing worse than taking time out if your day to show/teach someone something only to notice them just looking round for something more interesting.
Also, make sure he knows it's ok to ask questions or for something to be repeated/explained if he doesn't understand. It shows that he is listening and trying to understand rather than be embarrassing which is how I felt as a teen in an office
Our apprentice was the only person who could fathom out our unfashionable photocopier come fax come scanner. He was invaluable for that!
No one in our office except me has a scooby about social media (and I'm payroll/accounts) so someone who can just get stuff done with no fuss would be welcome.
We are a small family firm. Quite old fashioned in some ways. He needs to suss out the ethos. What our boss says goes as its his name on the sign. He wants the company to represent good old fashioned service. If that's the case embrace it whilst embracing modern technology. Orcthe firm might be the opposite. Fresh ideas are good, changing the character of a firm are not. Tell him to ask about company policy, my boss hates when people write emails in casual language, we use high quality letterhead for certain things, have certain colours & fonts that represent us. Find out about this stuff.
Don't eat all the butter, clean up in the kitchen. Keep off his mobile. Offer to do the sandwich run.
Yes, always maintain eye contact, have a positive attitude and smile. Write things down and if unsure don't be embarrassed to ask questions to help understand things better. Phone away until lunchtime or the end of the day. Offer to make teas/coffees you can learn a lot about people and the office politics from this simple task.
Good luck to him, he'll learn loads and have fun.
It's all basic stuff -
Phone away and on silent
Make eye contact
Get there 10 mins before start time
Don't be seen looking bored or yawning
Offer to make tea once in the morning, once in the afternoon, but no more
Take packed lunch unless he definitely knows where to buy lunch
We had a teenager on work experience recently. When she finished a task she would get her phone out and sit on that. Don't do that! Ask if there is anything else he can help with/if there is anything about the business he could read while he is waiting for the next task.
Keep his phone away all day, don't check it even once. Seriously.
Ask questions to understand a task.
When finished, don't wait for the next bit of work, ask for it. In a nice pestering way.
They are look for the ability to learn and develop, so show this by doing new things and asking for feedback.
Best of luck!
General stuff worth mentioning to him if he has not been used to a professional environment before. Just because I have seen it before in young people in their first job
Use appropriate language to use in the office environment no bad language / text speak. As pp's have said no mobile phone out.
Listen to how staff introduce themselves or are introduced. If the MD or a senior member of staff is introduced to your DS as Mr /Mrs/ Ms Smith he should always use that form of address, even if other members of staff call him/her by their first name. The MD or senior member of staff should be the one to say call me Brian / Diane.
Your DS should wear office appropriate clothing, no need for formal wear, but what he wears should be clean, tidy, not ripped or with questionable slogans.
If he is not sure what the lunch arrangements are I would suggest take a packed lunch but also to take money in case the staff go out or buy in stuff. Take a bottle of water if he doesn't like tea or coffee as sometimes office tap water is awful.
Oh bless him, just to completely agree with everything everybody else has said, notebook, be on time, clean & well presented, appear interested and ask questions, very polite 'proper' language, do not appear or mention being bored under any circumstances, offer to help with things such as making tea/carrying things etc, take some money in case he needs to buy anything and never, ever look at/mess with his phone!!
Wishing him all the luck in the world!!
May seem obvious but does he know how to make tea or coffee? My DC don't drink either so wouldn't know where to start - which would look idiotic.
Smart trousers, shirt and tie unless he knows it's casual dress.
No looking at phone in work time even if he sees staff do it.
Smile, be patient, ask for help if needed, offer to help if he can see anyone needing it (and can help!) and don't join in conversations until included. We had an intern last summer who thought he was the bees knees, treated me like shit because I'm the person who makes tea most often (I'm fourth most senior, I just drink tea a lot), and I said very vociferously that I would object to offering him further opportunities. The fact your DS is thinking this way is very likely to mean that he will be fab. Good luck to him!
I agree with lots of previous comments and would add that he shouldn't be clock watching for break/lunch times and finish time. I had a work experience boy sat with me for an afternoon recently who spent the last half an hour constantly checking the time and at 4:58 stood up and said "right, thanks bye" whilst I was mid sentence! Not impressed!
Also, don't get involved in discussions about politics or other potentially controversial subjects, even if other people in the office are talking about them. Don't over share personal information, but do be ready with some small talk if people ask him friendly questions - hobbies, summer holiday plans, that sort of thing.
It's very easy to put your foot in it inadvertently in an office environment.
It might seem natural, for instance, to bring up the forthcoming general election... But wouldn't be a good idea. The old adage about avoiding discussions on politics, sex or religion is one I've seen a few trainees fall foul of.
Agree with ask questions. If he's done something wrong, own up straight away and don't try to cover up... They will expect him to make mistakes.
Say good morning and goodbye to everyone in your vicinity.
Take your cup back to the dishwasher (and offer to take those in the immediate vicinity) at the end of the day.
These are all brilliant- thank you so much! I'm trying not to get my hopes up but it's so hard.
I just want someone to give him a chance and so he can start contributing to society and start his working life.
I leave him a list of jobs to do at home everyday which he does without moaning, he never asks for a penny off me. But he gets so fed up and I know part of him is losing hope.
He wore the suit he wore for his prom to the interview but have just been out to buy him another pair of trousers and a shirt/tie.
Thanks again! Fingers crossed
Once he has been in for the day he will have a better feel for dress code/food/coffee.
Tell him not to worry about remembering names. He is going to meet a lot of people, they are going to meet one.
Good luck to him
Typically he has an interview tomorrow at our local theme park. Loads of local kids work there.
I've said he will end up with 2 jobs probably next week! It's how life goes!
No question is to stupid I rather someone asked something a 100 times and done it right than suffer I silence and either not get it done or fuck it up.
Also talk and write properly in a previous job we had someone doing maternity cover who would write phone messages for the 70 year old MD in text speak. He would wait till she went to the toilet to come and ask for us to translate.
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