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A week in the life of a HARCVS work experience student

A week in the life of a HARCVS work experience student

This summer we’ve had the pleasure of being joined by Bernie, a student  on her work experience placement. We think it’s a good opportunity to be able to share with young people the experience of working in a charity team in their local community and it’s good for us to have an extra pair of hands and to see things through a fresh pair of eyes. Bernie shares her story of her week with us... 

Day 1 

First thing I took a tour around Harrogate Community House with Caroline to familiarise myself with the 15 different organisations in the building.

Bernie with Julie and Caroline at Harrogate Community House 

Then I joined in the weekly diary meeting which takes place every Monday for the HARCVS and HELP staff team to share what has happened during the previous week and what is coming up. This helps everyone have an understanding of how much is going on! Since I had only been with the team for an hour it was really good for me to learn what happens in a typical week and to hear about the events that I was taking part in. The staff were so organised that I already had various projects that I could crack on with, including some market research which I loved as it was very relevant to my studies.

THE LOCAL FUND Anniversary at Ripon Cathedral was a great event and I met the Mayor and Mayoress, the Lord Lieutenant and the Dean. I was busy helping with the display boards and banners and meeting and greeting guests. 

Day 2 

Day 2 was interesting and not a let-down at all! I enjoyed being on reception with Julie who showed me the various jobs the receptionist does on a daily basis, including checking the Community House meeting rooms every day.  I turned into a tour guide of the building as I showed people to the meeting rooms. I was asked “How long have you been working here?” and “When did the building get extended” to which I replied it had only been 2 days and I was just as curious as them!  The Harrogate Skills 4 Living Group was so polite and every single one of them said thank you.

Later I went with Jen to Bilton Health and Wellbeing Hub where I helped set up for a ‘Here to HELP’ drop-in session and chatted to people who came along.  

When we got back I cracked on with another task - a pile of letters and envelopes that needed posting.  After a while, I really got the hang of it and I started going faster!

Day 3

This was an office day when I helped download guides and to design a new volunteer form.  Then I looked over some legal documents on the lease for the building which I loved researching as it gave me some experience in property law.  

I joined a team meeting with Karen looking at funding. It made me realise how much the charity relies on fundraising from various sources to be able to run properly and help as many people as possible.

Day 4

Today made me realise how much I liked arts and crafts as I joined the HELP Craft Group. I met a kind lady called Irene who tried teaching me how to knit, but my hand coordination skills were not up to hers! Another lady, Sue, showed me her lovely designs of the picture they were sewing for Bettys as the company had kindly donated to the group. We had some tea and coffee and chatted for a while. Everyone was so friendly and approachable. When it was nearly the end no one wanted to leave and they even invited me along every week. Unfortunately the group is on a school day.  

After clearing away the cups and making sure we left the room the way we had found it, I joined Sheila on reception. I managed to print 300 envelopes as it was quieter than we anticipated during the afternoon.  Maybe it was because everyone was outside enjoying the sunshine!

Day 5

Anna and I travelled to Ripon library to set up for the health information fair, collecting a pull up banner from the HELP office at Ripon Community House on the way.

I was at our stand for most of the time but also went to speak to people at other stands including the MS Society who gave me a lot of information about what they do and hope to achieve.  They gave me a bracelet and a pin and I will gladly wear these as I like the way they set out their aims.

The people I met this week were all incredible and made me feel welcome and   comfortable. It has been one of the best work experiences I could have done and made me look at different roles in the busy community building. The work has given me so much experience for the future, not just research and offices skills but also skills to communicate with different people and how to approach them.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my week with HARCVS and I would 100% recommend other people at my school to consider work placement with a charity.