Work Experience or Experiencing Work?

17/07/2015

Arch Communications has been happy to offer a work placement to student Carl White, who’s keen on a career in PR. Here, he reflects on the “experience”.

It can be easy to panic and feel the pressure when thrown into a situation you know little about. Thankfully, during my time at Arch Communications, that hasn’t happened (yet). The team have been extremely welcoming and it’s been a brilliant learning experience.

The various nuances of PR are absolutely fascinating and every project has a thousand things to consider. There’s huge skill involved in working out how people will respond to what you plan to say.

This is proper work experience: learning through observation in order to improve, so I can be competent when the time comes for me to take on more responsibility. It’s very different to experiencing work.

Work experience assumes second hand learning – watching from the sidelines. Experiencing work is actually doing, and therefore first hand learning

The focus is on the experience, not the work. You can’t beat getting your hands dirty when it comes to learning fast. I’m already developing my PR knowledge and problem-solving. I’m discovering and innovating at the same time.

I never thought that I’d be writing multiple press releases, drafting posters, sourcing journalists and writing blogs so soon. I’d just spent the week before I started work honing my tea-making skills in preparation, really.

So my plea to any business taking people on work experience is: please let them loose to learn through that experience, and through having responsibility. It’ll be more useful for everyone in the (not-so) long run.