By Peter Dutton
This week was slightly different from my usual school week. Instead of sitting in a classroom all day, I was out serving ice cream and hunting for bears, seeing how LeedsBID works to improve the city centre.
I had never been to Leeds before, and don’t often go into the city, so I had to adapt to the noise and people who I’m not normally used to. I’m not very sure what I’d like to do for a job, so working with LeedsBID was great, giving me an insight into all the different jobs that people do inside the organisation; digital marketing, organising events, hosting business meetings and more.
On my first day, I was welcomed to the BID, and shown around the office. It was very different to how I imagined it; I was expecting a serious work environment, but everyone was very friendly and helpful. Then, with my cup of tea in hand, I talked to Andrew, the Chief Executive, about the BID, what they do and how they work with other businesses to help improve Leeds. I also had a personal tour of the city, where I saw some of the work the BID had done around Leeds.
I was invited along to a planning meeting to discuss a forthcoming project where I put forward some of my own suggestions as well as researching some other ideas. It would be good to go back next year to see if any of my ideas have been taken on board! It helped me understand how major events in Leeds like the Jurassic Trail are created, which was certainly a unique experience for me.
Over Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I lent a hand at the LeedsBID Summer Roadshow, where there were giant games for people to play, sports on TV to watch and most importantly free ice cream – all to help make lunchtimes more enjoyable for people who work in the city. I helped set up the equipment and deckchairs, served (and tasted) the ice cream and then was there to help pack everything away at the end of the day.
I also spent time with the LeedsBID Street Rangers, finding out what the team do to help keep the city centre clean, and visited their nearby unit where all the equipment, including a fleet of electric vehicles, is stored.
Later that day, I learnt about how LeedsBID uses social media to promote its projects, and the different ways each platform is used to reach different audiences, alongside the digital newsletter and website to promote upcoming events. I currently study GCSE Computer Science, so this was a perfect opportunity to see how digital marketing is used in real life.
My final day was a little different as I spent the morning hunting for bears as part of the Leeds We’re Going on a Bear Hunt trail, exploring the city using the bear hunt app, which certainly burned off some calories from breakfast.
While walking around, I saw some of the things brought to the city by LeedsBID – the Street Rangers cleaning the streets and the giant piece of street art Athena Rising.
Overall, I found working for LeedsBID a great experience, as I have had a taste of what the real world of work is like, even if they are a bit more relaxed than most businesses. I had a chance to see all different sorts of jobs: working in the office, going outdoors, organising events and, of course, making the teas and coffees.
As someone who lives in the countryside, work experience has helped me become more independent, getting me out of my comfort zone to work in the city.