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Youth Select Committee Mun Wu Vice-Chair Careers

Experience of work is extremely valuable to understanding what a working environment is like and also to explore different potential future career paths. I am passionate that all young people should be able to access quality work experience in their desired sector which led me to apply to be part of the Youth Select Committee inquiry into realising the potential work experience can have. For National Careers Week, in this blog, I will be talking about my experiences in the working world and the skills I’d gained.

My experiences

My first formal encounter of the working environment was in year 10 when I had to complete a, compulsory two-week work experience placement. I chose to complete my placement with a construction company who were building a new hospital within my local area.

They regularly took on work experience students so had a structural programme for me to follow which dedicated time to several different departments within their company. It was an educational experience as I got to broaden my knowledge of different careers in the construction sector and spent time learning the types of jobs an architect, a quantity surveyor and a building manager might do.

Throughout my two weeks, I got to learn and get past the initial panic of what it was like to start a new job, such as what I needed to wear and what it was like in an office working with people who were older than me. It also improved my time-management skills and increased my independence. Most importantly from this placement, while I enjoyed my time there, I was able to determine that I wouldn't enjoy a job within construction as my interests were not suited to the jobs I had been given.

My second encounter of the working environment was when I spent two days during my holidays shadowing a judge at county court because I was interested in possibly pursuing a career in law. I was able to gain this experience because of the connections my then politics teacher had.

I spent two days shadowing two different county court judges where I sat through a range of different civil cases listening and watching how a court operated. Despite my lack of legal knowledge, as I had never studied law before, the judges I shadowed explained how they came to a judgement.

I was able to gain an insight into not only into the role of lawyers in the cases but also the reason behind the outcome of the cases I had listened to. It was a fascinating experience to spend two days in court, a place not many of us would usually spend time in, to shadow and live through the working day of an individual in this field. I really enjoyed the time I spent shadowing a judge and listening to court cases helping me to realise that law could be a potential further career I might want to pursue.

Both experiences were in vastly different environments but combined with my extra-curricular activities were massively important in helping shape my future career path. They also helped introduce me to the working world helping equip me with confidence for when I started my first job in the retail sector as I had gained transferable skills from my placements.

Find out more about the British Youth Council and Youth Select Committee on this page.