As I made my way through the city hustle and bustle on route to London Wall, I questioned my arrival time of 9:19am. Granted my time start was at 9.30am but I was wary of the importance of making a positive first impression, trying to not be too early or too late. I lingered outside The Brokerage office for another 4 minutes before deciding that was the perfect time for me to make my entrance. I navigated the peculiar passageway, which added a couple more minutes onto my arrival time, to find myself standing right outside the office that would officially be my working residence for the coming week.
My first trip to the office only lasted just over a minute as I was rather rapidly whisked away by Graham to spend the day at RaboBank, a Dutch multinational banking and financial services company. A 13 minute walk ensued which allowed me to get to know the manager of recruitment and alumni, the man that is Graham Hopgood. Once there, I must admit the building of RaboBank looked as eccentric as the name of the company sounds. Joined by a group of Newham students on a Summer University Programme, the day proved to be an eye opener with an introduction to the 4 main sectors of the City; Banking, Insurance, Accountancy and Corporate Law. This was followed by a CV workshop, something I definitely needed, and an interview skills workshop. The CV and interview workshops proved to be intriguing in particular when hearing certain facts. For example, a CV is looked at for only 7 seconds on average by a recruiter to decide if you are worthy of an interview and if you thought that was harsh, during an interview, the average time taken for the decision to be made on your suitability for the role is only 12 seconds! To avoid such occasions I learnt some handy tips for CV and interview preparation, something I will seek to use in my future. Having been impressed by the building of RaboBank, my new passion of city sightseeing was to reach new heights as I heard the start of the second day was to be at the Gherkin.
After the initial stages of flabbergast, once down to business after learning about the types of industries the day earlier, now I was to learn about the firms within the industries themselves. KPMG and Ernst and Young for Accounting, UBS for banking and so on. It was at this stage I was made aware of the astonishing figure that is controlled by the City of London, an eye watering £5.1 trillion. This was followed by an interactive and fun game of share trading. Despite coming last for the first 4 rounds, my team fought valiantly to mount a comeback to the respectable position of second to last (better than last). The rest of the day was spent at a Swiss Reinsurance company, aptly named Swiss Re. Here I met 4 volunteers who worked at the company and was given the opportunity to ask any questions I may have had in respect to their steps taken to reach where they are now and any advice they may have for individuals like myself who in the future would like to work in the City. Graham and Kathy followed this up by explaining the different routes that are able to be taken in order to reach working in the City and how vocational routes such as school leaver opportunities can prove to be as effective as the more common university path.
After 2 days of day and half day tripping to various companies, Wednesday was to be the day The Brokerage office finally became my workplace. Despite the long walk to the toilet I accepted the pitfalls that came with City life and knuckled down for my first piece of work at the office. I was presented with a project by Kathy, which included entering feedback forms into an Excel spreadsheet. Upon completion I had to familiarise myself with a new software called Sales Force. This role involved the entry of names, emails and job positions of a group of individuals into the database. Finally a day of stereotypical office work but one where I could rest my feet after the initial action packed two days.
My 4th day at The Brokerage turned out to be the most insightful and intriguing. After inputting some more details into a Sales Force database, the rest of my day was to prove to be completely different to what I had experienced up to this point. With a job vacancy up for grabs at The Brokerage, interviews were being held at the office to find a suitable candidate for the role of Workshop Facilitator. This allowed me to turn the tables and take a perspective from the eyes of an employer. After learning about interview techniques earlier on in the week, it was interesting to be able to observe presentations by 5 candidates who were battling it out for the role on offer. This enabled me to assess and analyse their performances and has provided me with valuable insight into what is required of candidates in this position, something I will look to improve in myself.
My 5th and final day allowed me to finish off this blog itself and a presentation I have been working on. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for having me and to commend the work of The Brokerage. Sometimes it is not what you know that leads to success but who you know that proves to be effective and that is what The Brokerage is perfect at doing as it connects young people with companies and other like-minded individuals.
Year 12 Work Experience Blog