We recently hosted Shanti, a sixth form student from Mossbourne Community Academy, for two weeks of work experience, here’s their diary and what they learnt.
Hi! My name is Shanti, and I am currently studying for my A Levels atMossbourne Community Academy Sixth Form, in Hackney. Over the summer, I partook in a work experience placement at Here East. As my personal interests include coding and tech, I was interested in the developments happening at Here East and over the two weeks I spent here, I was given the task of writing a blog for the Here East website.
I live nearby, so near, in fact, that I can see it from my window. I was intrigued to spend time at Here East and had heard that it is a tech-city but I wanted to know more about its message, its influence on the local community of today and, of course, the lives of young people living in London for the years to come.
On my first day, I arrived at the Press Centre to meet with Jasel, Community & Partnerships Manager at Here East, who developed and led on my placement. At first, I was nervous, but after seeing the friendly environment in the Here East offices, I felt much better. The staff were very supportive and gave me lots of advice about meeting new people in the work environment. I was given my programme timetable, and my main task for the two weeks: to write a blog. I had never written a blog, although I had seen many before, so this challenge was exciting. The timetable which had been developed for me was very varied, and I had a lot of fun working with and meeting the different tenants on the Here East campus.
Over the course of my two weeks with Here East, I worked with many of the local partners and organisations on campus, including Toasted Productions, Loughborough University London, and the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI), and went in wanting to improve on skills such as confident communication in a formal setting and managing my own time independently.
· My first impressions of the building.
The campus itself is massive, a lot bigger on the inside. It feels very much like a mini-city; with large, colourful architecture, interconnected streets, and its own free bus service open to those working and visiting Here East.
· Here East works with many different groups.
At the Here East coffee morning, I found out about the different groups and institutes that have chosen Here East, from small, start-up businesses to larger, more well-known brands, likeStudio Wayne McGregor. Ford will be setting up a research group here soon as well, which is fantastic, as I know they’ve been focussing a lot on hybrid electric vehicles lately.
· Photography in and around Plexal.
Working withToasted Productions, a company based at Plexal (Here East) specialising in film and photography, I was taught the basics of professional photography. Using that newfound knowledge, I took photos of the newly fitted Plexal space, a vast room for tech start-ups and established businesses alike, all housed by Here East. We also got to go around the Here East campus to take some pictures of the buildings and space, which I have used for this blog.
People from the many different businesses at Here East can meet here, or at any of the seats throughout the campus, to discuss ideas, and share thoughts. This incredibly social work environment took me by surprise, so I was happy to see that a more collaborative approach to work is possible.
· Writing guidance for crafting a blog.
Toasted Productions and Jasel, gave me a lot of guidance with my writing skills. It was fun to learn tips on structuring my writing for websites. It was very helpful, as I was finding it difficult to write in a suitable format for a blog. I was given excellent pointers on writing for a blog and taught how to plan an effective brief for writing to meet a deadline, which is a very important life skill. It is also extremely important, in any profession, to be able to communicate and to get your point across effectively, and so I am very grateful to have learnt these skills, which I will put into action for my studies.
· Inspiring Success event.
Loughborough University London has moved into Here East. I attended their Inspiring Success event, managed by Loughborough University London in the Here East building. I joined in on an interview practice, in which participants answered interview-style question, pitching themselves under timed conditions. At the end they received feedback on their technique. This activity has certainly boosted my confidence. I wouldn’t have been able to do something like this a year ago and it was very rewarding to see how far I’ve come in growing my confidence. I feel that I have learnt a lot from taking part; it has made the prospect of an interview a less daunting task, which I hope to use in the future, especially when applying for UCAS.
It was good to know that Here East are providing opportunities for residents, and are collaborating with Loughborough University London to support local post-graduate students in their education.
Luckily, I got the chance to tour the University with a careers manager working at Loughborough, and saw their impressively compact campus. I had a look at their brand-new facilities; they had a library, canteen space and even a Computer Aided Design (CAD) suite, with their own 3D printer! This technology fascinates me, and is hopefully something I will get to try out in the future.
Pro Bike Service:
· A free service that was being offered to the public.
I visitedPro Bike Service, on Canalside – an area by the canal with several independent restaurants and bars who were offering free bike check-ups to the public! At first, I wondered how such a service could exist, but as I was told by the Director and Head Mechanic of the service, it runs on a gift economy – they are rewarded by people who appreciate what they do, and Here East support this free bike service, providing the space.
I was glad to see this free service at Here East, as the public definitely benefit from it. These services attract people and reward residents who stop by, pushing for a nicer, more social environment, and of course, this ties into the collaborative themes that Here East aspire towards in the community.
· What the task was that I was given.
At HSSMI I was tasked with the theoretical challenge of increasing productivity in a car factory. It was interesting to find out more about how autonomous car industries operate through the use of robotics and cloud data storage. This process however results in many factory workers losing their jobs, so the situation is very moral, as well as logistical.
· What I learnt about HSSMI.
I learnt that HSSMI help car manufacturers to increase productivity and efficiency, through new technologies, for example: teaching employees through Virtual Reality simulations, or using autonomous robots, all to help increase the number of cars made.
My 3 top tips for anyone looking to find work experience:
· Send an email – you have to reach out and ask people for a placement, make the first move!
· Find a place that interests you – this is a great opportunity for you to get experience in a company that does something that you like.
· Don’t be nervous – this is most likely your first look into the world of work, so no one expects you to know everything when you first get there.
At Here East, I have learnt a lot about what goes into managing different businesses, and bringing them together as a society. I have learnt a great range of new skills, from being confident in speech, to being independent, and following a more work-related schedule, and will certainly use these skills in later-life.
I would definitely recommend this placement to anyone with an interest in tech, and anyone who wants an insight into how new organisations like this work.
Overall, my experience at Here East has inspired me. It is proof that tech is accessible in London, and that anyone in the local community can find what interests them. I was happy to see Here East setting up events for the community that can drive their passions. Getting a chance to see the tech that is created here has certainly got me thinking about what I want to do in life, and I want to do more to further my understanding of technology.