Thursday, 24 March 2011

Same old, same old

Today's prompt from Shimelle was to blog about something mundane and ordinary and I must admit I'm struggling to think of what to write about.  I've been at work all day today, I'm a secretary in a school and my duties are many and varied.  Schools run very much on a termly basis and the jobs I do in the Autumn term are very different to the Summer etc etc.  I work mostly in the main school office but do 7 hours a week with the Exams Officer.  Needless to say, the pressure of work in that office will be rising in the next few months as we prepare for GCSE, AS and A levels!
But today I was in the front office and one of my main jobs for this term is helping to organise work experience for our Year 10 girls.  Some schools outsource this job to agencies who get various placements and then they try and match a child to a job but we do the organising ourselves and pride ourselves in the personal touch trying very hard to make sure that the girls get to do work experience in a place that is their first choice wherever possible.  We have 160 girls in the year group and that's a lot of work placements!  Our girls have varied interests and some are more challenging to arrange than others.  There seem to be trends in interests, this year we had about 10 girls wanting to work in a bridal shop.  Bearing in mind there are only two shops selling wedding dresses in our town, you can imagine that this has posed a few problems!  Another popular area is always working with animals and while there are more opportunities in this area we do struggle.  Lots of horse riding stables around here, no problem there.  A few vets who are happy to take our A* science girls - sorted.  We did have a little 'blip' a few years ago when an animal rescue centre that had always taken at least two girls suddenly became involved in a scheme that helped young offenders do community service.  We had to ring the parents of the girls going there to forewarn them that they would be mixing with people who were repaying their debt to society!
Today we placed a girl who was interested in missile technology at a laboratory and we wondered how our troops would feel if there were a sign on one of the weapons saying 'made by a 14 year old student on work experience'! 
To be honest, the more tricky the request, the more satisfaction in getting it sorted.  Who'd have thought that we would have a girl interested in learning how to make violins? More to the point, who'd have thought there was a violin making company within 15 miles of school?  We have a couple of girls interested in photography going to an ethical modelling agency who deal only with 'normal' sized girls, no size zero there!  A girl who loves acting and was interested in working with disabled children - turns out we have a drama group in town who specialise in drama workshops with Down's Syndrome children. 
We sometimes have to be imaginative in thinking outside the box.  We had a girl whose first choice was proving to be impossible to organise but we noticed from her outside interests that she was a keen member of a brass band.  The Royal Artillery Band have a work experience programme that is residential in London and we offered her that - she had a brilliant week.
So if you have a teenage child, and if it's coming up for Work Experience time, please, please give a moment's thought to the lady in the office who may have to beg on their behalf to get a placement for them!

14 comments:

Maya said...

What an amazing opportunity for the girls to have such experiences early in their lives. Sounds like you are doing an outstanding job!

scrappyjacky said...

I'm very impressed,Deb...it sounds like you're doing a brilliant placements job....unlike my daughters' schools ....who just seemed to send the girls anywhere they could....neither of them were in the least bit interested in the work placement they were sent to.
Mind you...my hairdresser wasn't very impressed when her work placement girl came with instructions she should actually cut hair....I mean...how many customers woud want a 14 year old schoolgirl to cut their hair???

Gem's Crafts said...

Wow! It sounds like you have a lot to do to place those girls, but it sounds so interesting, and you must get so much out of it too :)

Ruth said...

That part of your job must give you so much satisfaction. Mind you, I'd noe like to know more about making violins, please.

Ruth said...
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Sue said...

How fascinating. TO the best of my knowledge we don't have a similar opportunity here in the the Public Schools in the US. Is this experience only for girls or do boys also get an opportunity to try work experiences?

Denise said...

Sounds like you re doing a sterling job there- must be pretty interesting too,and rewarding when they have a good week.

Cheri said...

I can see where you would find matching a child with the right placement to be quite rewarding. We don't have anything like that in our public schools - we have a "Take Your Daughter to Work" day in which the parent is expected to have their child accompany them to their own place of employment. Sarah did. Rachel and Becca had zero interest in where I worked!

Amy said...

No same old, same old at all - this has been very entertaining to read Deb ... I'll watch out for rockets made by 14 years olds in the future! ;-)

Beverly said...

The girls are blessed to have adults so invested in making the right matches for them :)

Sian said...

It's just like Jim'll Fix It! It sounds very satisfying and very entertaining.

cate said...

when I was at school, we had to organise our own work experience, but it sounds like you do a great job, and look at all the amazing places you've found out about!

Rhona said...

I'm really impressed that your school helps organise the placement of the girls for work experience. The school my daughter goes to leaves it up to the students to approach businesses and ask if they'd be able to do work experience with them. As E is going to be in Yr 10 next year and due to do her work experience, we're already considering places she may be interested in approaching.
xx

Rachel B said...

Wow, that's a lot of work placements! When I did my work experience it was up to us to find somewhere and a lot of students ended up with something they really were not interested in, So that sounds brilliant....but a lot of work for you x