Every academic year, we host work experience placements for secondary school students, ensuring that we provide each of them with a meaningful opportunity to learn in a real-world work context. Back in November, we heard from Daniel, 15, who told us that he "would love to work with Global Generation because I’m very interested in conservation, animals and protecting the environment (...) I'm thinking about a career in conservation and working with your team would be a brilliant start". Here are his reflections on his placement in March:
I decided at the start of Year 10 that I wanted to do something linked to sustainability and the environment. I sent an email to Global Generation asking for a placement and got it. Robyn then organised lots of things for me to do based on my interests. Now I’ve done my work experience, I can honestly say that compared to literally any of my friends’ work experiences, I’ve done so much.
On my first day at the Skip Garden, I came in for 9. Everyone was there as they were having their weekly staff meeting, where they share their highlights of the past week and updates about things coming up. It was really nice because I was able to learn everyone’s names and get a bit more of a detailed impression of each person. Mickey and Jane both gave me some in depth tours of the area and showed me where everything was.
I introduced myself and went straight into helping in the kitchen with Sadhbh. I really enjoyed it because I’d never properly baked things and she taught me a lot about prep. We made a lot of stuff over the couple of weeks. It was great having help but also being allowed to do it independently, and really nice that some of the things I made were sold and people actually enjoyed them!
The next day, I was gardening with Julie. We strolled between each of the terraces she maintains and watered them as well as cleaning them up. As we walked, she told me loads about plants and flowers that I had no idea about, which found really interesting as it tied into to things I’d learnt at school in Biology and gave me an idea of how Science is quite closely linked to gardening.
Another thing to mention is that everyone eats together for lunch. I thought it was really nice because it feels like everyone is actually friends and you get a sense of being included, even if you’re working alone the whole day.
At the end of my first week, I went to Global Generation’s Paper Garden in Canada Water and worked with Emma and Glen. Me and Emma started off gardening and I learnt about the space and different types of plants. Emma showed me how to renew the soil and together we sowed loads of seeds. After that, I went with Glen who was really nice and started helping him build a pizza oven which was honestly so cool. He taught me so much about building and how to use various power tools, which was actually useful to something I was fixing up at home. Glen and Emma were really lovely to me and didn’t just treat me like I was there against their will and getting in the way. I got on really well with both of them and probably learnt about five different skills that day.
In my second week, I did things like spend time at King's Cross developer Argent with their sustainability team, and help with a workshop in a local primary school where Emma and I sowed seeds with the children. Me, Emma and Kiloran also made some bird feeders with some other children who came and visited the Skip Garden.
Sarah showed me how to properly use the coffee machine, operate the till and serve customers, which was cool - even though she had to take over sometimes because it actually can get quite stressful! But as my time went on, I learned to deal with those moments.
I’ve definitely found that my placement has showed me many different pathways that I could take, as well as new ones like cooking, which I actually really enjoyed without properly doing it before. I also found out that you can mix loads of subjects into singular careers like the environment and science or sustainability and cooking.
I think I definitely want to take some sort of course in gardening or do some sort of job/course which teaches me about it because it was really interesting and ties up to lots of things I’m interested in.
Kiloran gave me a really detailed list of places similar to Global Generation where I could do placements, training, courses and even paid work, which I really appreciated.
Over just a couple of weeks, I did so many different things that any regular work placement wouldn’t offer. I really enjoyed my time here and I’m honestly sad to leave as I would seriously consider getting a job here. Maybe when I’m 16!