Billingshurst students attend in-person work experience after pandemic

Two Billingshurst students finally attended in-person work experience at a marketing agency after lockdown interruptions.

Laura Sawyer and Sarah Graham, from The Weald School, attended a week of in-person work experience with marketing agency PMW.

After missing out on the chance to take part in previous work experience opportunities due to Covid-19, Year 12 students Laura and Sarah spent the week learning about the world of marketing.

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Spending each day with a different department, Laura and Sarah were able to gain a practical insight into the inner workings of the full-service marketing agency, being mentored by the staff in PMW’s social media, public relations and copywriting, account management, digital marketing, and graphic design departments.

Laura Sawyer (left) and Sarah Graham

Laura said: “I was hoping in Year 10 to come to PMW for work experience, but after all the interruptions with the pandemic and lockdown I wasn't able to. That’s why I appreciate it even more now. It’s great to get the chance to be in the office and get the full in-person experience.”

Sarah said: “I am so happy that PMW has been able to offer such a valuable placement to help me gain the experience I need - it has been such a rewarding experience.”

Peter Sutton, managing director of PMW, said: “Last year we were able to provide a virtual work experience opportunity for local students, but welcoming Laura and Sarah to the office for an in-person placement has been fantastic.

"We have staff members who had terrible work experiences when they were younger, so we ensure the time students spend with us is valuable, and I hope that our guidance has inspired an interest in a future in the marketing industry.”

Since the pandemic hit in 2019, students have found it increasingly difficult to secure a valuable work experience placement and, according to a study by YouGov for The Sutton Trust, over 60 per cent of employers have cancelled their work experience opportunities.

PMW said it recognised it was still important for students under the age of 18 to have the opportunity to benefit from a productive placement.

Emma Morris, careers manager at The Weald Community School, said: “The Weald Community School and Sixth Form is delighted that, as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been able to re-introduce our in-person work experience programmes so that we can support our students with gaining experiences of the workplace. These encounters are a vital component of our careers provision, as they can help young persons make well-informed and realistic decisions about their next steps, transition into the world of work, and achieve their full potential.

“Around 450 of our students are looking to undertake a work experience placement each school year; for this reason, we are always looking for more employers to offer a placement. If you would like to join our work experience community database, please click here:”