Work Experience: Cassie, 15

 Lucy & Cassie at work in The Sky Room

Lucy & Cassie at work in The Sky Room

Experience working in the garden

My first day started on schedule, starting at 9am and ending at 5pm. I was based in the
garden so it started with Julie, Emma and I travelling to Rotunda in King's Place to tend to their canal side garden. Every year the restaurant has a different theme and this year they decided to make it ‘Havana’, they hire Global Generation gardeners twice a week to maintain the plants and make sure they are healthy. If you look at it now you could say that it looks very tropical and exotic; I watered the plants and pulled out any weeds. I couldn’t really complain as there were swans and ducks swimming in the canal and them swimming gracefully was very relaxing to look at. We then went to Waitrose and started doing the same with their plants (watering and pulling weeds). Although, there weren't swans or ducks, there was a beautiful view of King's Cross.

Next on my schedule was visiting King's Cross Academy (Frank Barnes school for
deaf children) which had its pros and cons. An advantage was I knew ASL (American Sign
Language), a disadvantage was that the children and staff obviously knew BSL (British Sign
Language) which was no surprise to me and made perfect sense. The primary school really touched my heart as it was very colourful whereas secondary schools are usually grey and dull. But also the younger children are usually unconditionally happy , Emma, Kiloran and I were educating them on insects and how to make bug hotels. It seemed as though anything they were taught they would be excited about, which gave me hope for the future of nature. If they’re convinced that gardening and protecting the environment is fun they’ll feel motivated to do it more and more as they grow older (I mean doing it is just as fun).

Generally, I felt as though this was a perfect time to step out of my comfort zone as I’m not the best person when it comes to dealing with younger children and I find it very over-whelming when they start crying . Surprisingly I gained a new perspective of working with people not only older but younger than me, and I really enjoyed myself.

Back at The Skip Garden, I had lunch with all of the staff, which was interesting because I always had the impression that during work people sat either by themselves or in a certain group of people but I guess this broke the stereotype and I honestly loved how diverse everyone was, we were all from different places in the world that we were able to share different traditions we have and recipes. Everyone who works at the Skip Garden has different roles and I found it entertaining how everyone’s day had been so far or generally the thought of everyday having different tasks to do, regardless being based at one station. For the remaining hours I decided to water the plants and although watering plants repetitively got to my head a bit I admired the new plants growing which was perfect to do, as it is spring. Before leaving the Skip Garden I swept the gravels off the pavement tiles, which I found interestingly satisfying to do.

Experience working in the kitchen

I absolutely love restaurants, cafes or generally eating out. But the thought of having to
working in one didn’t cross my mind, when working in the kitchen the staff are expected to
come into work by 8am just to help set up. It’s very relaxed in the beginning but once the café door opens the pressure seeps in. I started off by looking at a booklet on how to use
the Till, I’m great at handling instructions but if there are too many I panic. I stepped back
and looked at how Sarah (Cafe Manager) did everything, from the till and the coffee making to
waitressing.

I started with waitressing, simple. Take the food out to customers and bring it back in once they’re finished…except when bringing the food out to the wrong customers that’s when panic mode is on, I remember telling Sarah I couldn’t go back out and take the food back so she had to do it for me. Apart from that, Giorgia (Cafe Chef) showed me how to make coffee in generally but personally for me, iced coffee. I remember falling in love with it which isn’t healthy. Too much of anything is bad. I became very confident making coffee which is such an accomplishment for me as I felt like a professional barista! I had a moment of thinking I could open my own café. Only thing standing in my way was the till, I remember Sarah was the slightest bit busy and told me to take over the Till. As a newbie, I couldn’t handle the pressure of the customer having to wait for me to figure out what each button did and although they didn’t say anything I could tell they knew I was new (which isn’t bad, but I would rather they be satisfied with our service), finally I was down to do washing up which consisted of rinsing, dishwasher, drying. Working in the kitchen made me want to do everything, collecting dishes, giving out dishes, making coffees and much more. I honestly love the look customers have on their face when I hand out their food, they seem so happy and it’s great, it’s like trading our food for their smiles.

Reflections on the whole experience

Even though I attend the Skip Garden regularly for youth groups, I’m considering having a summer job here or volunteering. I want to get involved as much as possible as I find it's the best way to spend my time, usually I arrive home tired and head straight to bed not even having to glance to my phone to fall asleep which is a grand thing for me. Also I enjoy how everyone is positively affected by the Skip Garden, they usually have regular customers as people honestly love the vibes and it’s a beautiful tourist attraction. Moreover, if someone has a problem, we are able to talk about it as friends and everyone has a positive energy which passes on.