Last week, we had an amazing time hosting two Sixth Form students for InspiresMe Week, a work placement programme organised by Workspace, Business in the Community and the Greater London Authority which provides 16-18 year olds business experience and insight into entrepreneurship.
As a young company dedicated to student engagement, InspiresMe Week was a natural fit for our team.
When we volunteered for the initiative, we felt it was very important that the students get involved directly in the business — no coffee/tea runs here! Specifically, we aimed to provide students a unique view into the higher education sector, exposure to an international work environment and hands-on experience to develop new skills and confidence. We sought to learn from the students too; hear their fresh ideas, especially as it relates to our communications with prospective university students.
Students Cristovao and Wesley spent the week with us learning:
- the higher education landscape and how our business fits into the market
- the various functions in the business and how they work together
- workplace expectations and culture
After shadowing different functions within UniQuest, Cristovao and Wesley took a crack themselves at some marketing and operations activities like writing a company value proposition, drafting and scheduling tweets, making outbound student support phone calls, and developing recommendations for website improvements.
By the end of the week, Cristovao and Wesley had this to say about their experiences:
- ‘I really enjoyed making the phone calls; it was entertaining and quick’
- ‘I like learning marketing and social media and useful ways to communicate with customers. People will be impressed if you know what you’re talking about.’
- ‘I liked everything. Found everything useful. Gave me wider knowledge of things that you don’t do day-to-day in school’
- ‘Monday’s I work at a service desk and I’ve been avoiding the calls. Now I’m not going to avoid them. I feel OK making the calls’
- ‘I wanted to gain new skills. I really liked working on a landing page; didn’t know what it was until I googled it and then I got to make one!’
A major impact from the week, beyond skill development, was that both Cristovao and Wesley had their perceptions of work-life changed. They realised that the workplace isn’t something to be scared of.
‘The environment surprised me. Everything is colourful and bright. The people are casual. Didn’t know this type of business existed. This week has changed my views. I wouldn’t mind doing this kind of job.’ – Wesley
‘The business environment surprised me. It’s nice. Very helpful, very different than the image I had. I expected suited up people sitting around. But everyone here is casual and so helpful.’ – Cristovao
With our first InspiresMe Week a success all around, Team UQ is left feeling really chuffed to have had the opportunity to participate and we can’t wait to take part again in the future.