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!