Read below students' first-hand accounts of undertaking work experience at Stratford-on-Avon District Council:
I chose to do work experience with Stratford District Council as I wanted to gain a range of experiences, which this placement enables you to do as it places you within a different department each day. I was particularly drawn towards ‘Professional Services', as becoming a lawyer is a potential career pathway, and this placement provided a day within the legal department.
The experience I gained within the legal department was useful as it improved my understanding of the legal system and particularly its place within the council. I was allowed to watch a licensing panel, which is usually closed to the public; this enabled me to gain an awareness into what happens “behind the scenes" and to see solicitors in action rather than just gaining experience within the office.
The rest of the week has also proved invaluable as it has allowed me to gain experience of working in an office environment and as part of a team, as everyone has been very welcoming and are happy to answer any question I have had. ‘Professional Services' gives an insight to a wide range of departments from HR to IT and so means you move around the council – gaining an awareness of the workings of the council and everything it is responsible for, much of which is often not realised by the local community. It also allows you to gain a better understanding of departments that you may previously not have had much knowledge of – for example communications, where I've been able to write press releases and post news items on their website.
Overall, my week within ‘Professional Services' and Stratford District Council has been incredibly interesting and useful in providing me with an insight into a range of departments and what working within a council environment would be like.
At the beginning of July 2019, I was given the opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes in the Professional Support sector of Stratford District Council. This included Consultation and Insight, Human Resources, Legal Services, Corporate Communications and the ICT department.
Firstly, I worked with Simon from the Consultation and Insight department. This was interesting, as I was able to analyse data collected from surveys about customer service and population, which led to me creating infographics to share this information with the district, including on social media.
Human Resources and Legal Services were equally as interesting as the first day; the two days in these departments gave me an insight in how the council looks after its staff and considers the local community. It was also interesting to attend some of the meetings which occur throughout the week and to see the work involved in these areas. I found it most fascinating visiting the Legal Library and where the old records are kept in the council.
Corporate Communications was one of my favourite departments to visit as it involved managing social media and advertising, including looking at the ways in which the District Council can reach audiences of all ages to inform of recent events and news.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my work placement at Stratford District Council, and it has given me the opportunity to review different pathways I may want to take in the future. I have been surprised by the different departments that are involved in the running of a council, which people in the local community do not always see. From the moment I walked in I have been welcomed warmly by everyone and have found seeing different departments very intriguing.
At the beginning of February 2019, I came to Stratford-on-Avon District Council for a week's work experience as part of a BTEC Level 3 Business course.
My placement was in Professional Support, where I saw what goes on internally in a public sector organisation within the Legal Services, Human Resources, Corporate Communications, Consultation & Insight and ICT and Business development departments.
Throughout the week, I was able to develop my learning and see first-hand the different aspects of the organisation. On Tuesday I shadowed Simon, part of the Consultation and Insight department, who showed me how the council gets involved with local people and the community and how they improve services to make changes to the district.
On Wednesday, I shadowed the Human Resources administration department, who help make road closure changes, and was able to see first-hand each process the changes must go through before reaching the public, such as the stamping process in the Legal Services department. The old traditional stamp was interesting to see.
On Thursday, I was in the Communications department, which I found the most fascinating as I am interested in marketing. I was able to see how the council manages social media and keeps it flowing smoothly. I also saw how they manage analytics, how they try to make their content reach different audiences and what goes on behind the scenes of running a business website.
Overall, I found my placement at Stratford-on-Avon District Council very engaging and informative and all the staff members around the council were friendly and helpful. The work experience improved my understanding of a business and I was able to learn new aspects that I have not yet covered in my course.