The well-known phrase “I would rather watch paint dry” couldn’t be more apt when it comes to work experience. Making tea including Yorkshire, Earl Grey, Green, Mint, Camomile and Milk Thistle, coffee, (including decaffeinated, for whatever reason) filing, shredding, cupboard-cleaning and willing time to pass by so you can go home to the PS4. These are exactly the sentiments of what a typical placement consists of. More importantly, precisely what my friends said theirs’ did.
However, my week with specialist Financial Services recruitment firm BWD couldn’t be further from traditional work experience. I was treated as an adult, one of the employees you could even say. I was even presented with tasks to undertake, including writing this blog on my ‘work experience’.
Despite having limited knowledge of the recruitment industry, the Financial Services aspect of BWD appealed to me instantly. I was uncertain as to what my time here could involve, mainly due to the traditional work experience model, but I was assured by one of the founding directors, Gareth Davies, that it wouldn’t be like that at all. How right he was.
Day 1……That dreaded day
When I arrived on my first day, I experienced the characteristic BWD hospitality and warmness through the employees I liaised with. This sense continued throughout my time here. Intense? Definitely. No kettle for me to look after and warm up every fifteen minutes.
A bespoke plan had been designed for me, ensuring I gained the most from the week. Within the first day, I had an introductory meeting with one of BWD’s three directors, who gave a brief but comprehensive overview of the firm and its core values. This was swiftly followed by an in-depth session from the Learning and Development Coordinator, who was able to guide me through the basics of the recruitment industry, looking at the needs for recruiters and the challenges they face.
A well-earned break for lunch allowed me to get my bearings and gather my thoughts. The afternoon proceeded to up the ante; I met with representatives from each of BWD’s four recruitment divisions, all of them explaining their specialism within Financial Services in detail. My day then came to an end, much quicker than I had ever anticipated and was looking forward to day two with excitement, not trepidation. When I told a couple of my friends about my first day, they thought I was winding them up.
Rest of the Week
Without elaborating on every moment of my week here, I will explain how the rest of my time was spent – the headlines. I worked with BWD’s marketing specialist who, although relatively new to the firm, has made crucial changes in the way BWD is perceived. We analysed website designs and compatibility, moving on to Search Engine Optimisation – essential tasks for all firms in the twenty-first century.
Under the guidance of BWD’s Project Manager, I undertook tasks looking at business continuity planning and even coordinated with external partners: I was given real responsibility to represent BWD. Additionally, throughout my week, I learned the process of invoicing from the Office Manager, helped a consultant with some CV searching for an active vacancy and completed a competitor-analysis project, which I presented on my last day.
The final task was to present my analysis to one of the Directors and The Marketing Manager. This could have been daunting, but because I have been made to feel one of the team, I was quite comfortable and even enjoyed it. The feedback was overwhelming, especially as they would like to utilise certain slides into their existing presentations.
Fundamentally, my work experience with BWD has been packed with learning; the things I thought I knew about Financial Services have been challenged and my understanding of the industry has developed far beyond my expectations.
I have worked with people who are experts in their respective fields, a unique opportunity for a seventeen-year-old such as myself. Being able to make active contributions to the business has been incredibly rewarding and it is hard to believe how quickly this has passed. To end the week on a high, I have been invited back to work during the summer holidays, something I am already relishing.
I can wholeheartedly recommend BWD to those within the Financial Services industry, or to those in a similar situation to myself. Do not bore yourself with a typical week of work experience, use the opportunity to come to BWD – you will not regret it.