Work Experience - Model Approaches
Friday 24th November 2017
Work Experience - Model Approaches!
A student once came to me concerned that she couldn't find any work experience in publishing. "Who have you approached?" I asked. From her response it was clear that she had been proactive in making numerous approaches to publishing companies, so the problem was likely to be in the method of approach, rather than a lack of approaches.
In cases like this, the line of least resistance would be to ask a work experience agency to source a publishing placement for the student, but this solution bypasses the part which offers the greatest learning experience. So much better for the student to coach them in the skills which are most likely to lead to a positive outcome.
So I asked the student to draw up a list of 10 publishers she'd most like to work with (her target market), and together we practised her telephone approach using role play - remembering too that in a phone call we're unable to convey an impression of ourselves through body language, so the words we choose and how we use them, become all the more important - review Mehrabian's Communication Theory.
Some days later, my student reported that using the method of approach we'd practised, she was asked to submit her CV to a major London publisher, where later she completed work experience. In the process, not only was she inspired to continue her interest in publishing, but in securing the placement, she had also learned some valuable employability skills!
Sometimes it's easy for us to forget that students and young people in general, don't necessarily possess the maturity of knowledge and experience, to know how best to approach a problem to achieve the optimum result (unless of course directly related to their studies). In other words, 'they don't know what they don't know.'
There's so much to be gained in coaching students to agree their own work placements, and in showing them how, we model the skills they will need to be successful in almost any field.