A week with LeedsBID by Sophie Evans

My week of work experience didn’t start off the best. After dropping my phone down the toilet, spilling my drink all over my new ‘work’ clothes and only getting three hours sleep the night before I assumed my week was doomed, however, everyone at LeedsBID managed to get me through the week.
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Like most seventeen-year-olds I don’t know what career I’d like to go into, this made it hard to find work experience and I very nearly gave up. Due to the A levels I’m taking (English language and literature, psychology and photography) and my previous experience in media at GCSE I thought LeedsBID would be a perfect place to speak to various people working in the areas I am interested in.

I first spoke to Sarah Towns whose role focus’ more on the English side of things and then Jordan who job focus’ more on the creative aspect. I accompanied Sarah to meetings where they discussed their plans and projects such as the new garden space outside the BBC and the marketing activities for the international piano competition. I was able to take notes during the meetings and then produced my own press releases for the events they discussed, this gave me a better understanding on how the blogs, newsletters, and columns we read daily are created. With Jordan, I was given the task of selecting nine images taken from the Leeds international festival and then present them on the wall as visitors enter the office. I used my previous knowledge of photoshop and new skills I learned while here to individually edit the photographs ready for the wall.

I also worked alongside LeedsBID apprentice, Kieran Chappell who, like me wasn’t sure what career he wanted to pursue. He showed me the ‘behind the scenes’ of their websites and the data they obtain from the people who visit them. The data shows the age and gender of people visiting while also showing the other sites they visited before and after their site, I found this interesting as being brought up alongside technology I was quite unaware about what goes on beneath the surface. I also travelled into Leeds with him to take photographs of the community using the deck chairs LeedsBID placed around the city and the murals they have created to help promote the area. I later edited them and then Kieran uploaded them onto LeedsBID’s social media sites.

Being in the office environment was different to how I expected, everyone is very friendly and funny and the question “would you like a tea or coffee?” gets thrown around about every 10 minutes. Before coming to LeedsBID I was most nervous about who I would be working alongside and whether they would take me seriously, however they have all welcomed me in with open arms. Coming here has given me so much independence and has given me a true insight into what actual work entails. Going from a ten-minute bus to college to an hour’s train journey into Leeds and my mum packing me a ham sandwich every day to going out to meetings in the heart of Leeds and eating various ‘street foods’ has definitely been very exciting.

If like me, you aren’t sure about your career path I would really recommend work experience as I have learned so much over the last five days. I learned what tasks I enjoy doing and what things I didn’t particularly like and sat in on multiple business meetings, simply listening and learning about each person’s varying role. Also, if you are sure of the job you’d like to pursue, work experience will give you a better idea of whether it's for you or not. I couldn’t recommend LeedsBID enough and am very grateful for their hospitality and for putting up with me over this week.