26th Jul 2019
This month the Barr Group had the absolute pleasure of welcoming three Year 10 work experience students into the Barr Group fold. Charlie Barr, training co-ordinator for the Barr Group, says “All three work experience candidates were a breath of fresh air – we were delighted to hear that they considered the experience a success” Charlie goes on to say “We share the Lord Williams’ School belief that giving young people the opportunity to better understand the world of work helps them make informed life choices. Our apprenticeship programme, here at the Barr Group, very much depends of the commitment of our interns and of them having a good understanding of what the workplace expects of them. Offering work experience placements is one channel through which employees can really give something back".
As part of her marketing and PR work experience at the Barr Group, Agnes Tate was asked to blog about her experience of the week and that of her peers – here is what she had to say:
“Before coming to the Barr Group for work experience this past week (in marketing and PR) I didn’t really have much of an idea about what working in a real company would be like. I was quite nervous about meeting everyone and about making mistakes, but it turned out that everyone was friendly and welcoming, so I had nothing to worry about! I’ve loved the experience of working with the Barr Group as it has taught me a lot about how a company runs and about what goes on behind the scenes. I didn’t realise that marketing isn’t just about communicating to the outside world but also about internal communications, so that everyone involved in the organisation knows what’s going on. Marketing and PR is definitely a field of work I would love to go into now”.
“The most exciting thing this week was getting to meet the clients and talk to them about how the builds were going. I also had the opportunity of interviewing Curtis and Abigail, from Lord Williams’ School, who also did work experience here (Abigail in interior design and Curtis in construction/joinery). It was interesting to learn how the interview process works and to actually carry one out. It was also great to hear how their experiences of working at StuartBarr CDR compared to mine!”
Here is what Abigail and Curtis had so say:
What drew you to your chosen work experience areas?
Curtis: I chose construction because I prefer to work outside of the office, I would hate just sitting at a desk all day and I love working with my hands.
Abigail: I really enjoy all aspects of design - I do wood tech and drawing at school. I had already done work experience before with the architect Lynn Palmer and her team and I was keen to learn more about the interior design side.
What jobs did you do whilst you were at StuartBarr CDR?
Curtis: I observed the carpenters and did specific jobs for them. I really enjoyed always being busy and doing physical work rather than sitting at a desk.
Abigail: Working in the Barr Design pod, I developed mood boards to send to clients and sourced items for their schemes. I also spent time in the other areas of the Barr Group, including BarrKitchens, which I loved. I went on-site visits and sat in on a client/architect project meeting.
What was the best thing about your work experience?
Curtis: The fact that everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I didn’t realise that you could have a laugh in the workplace while still working hard. The experience of working with a good company has been great. It was good to see how the different parts of the group linked together.
Abigail: I loved the whole experience of being treated like an adult and being given meaningful tasks. It really made me feel valued and appreciated.
Were there any difficult moments?
Curtis: I was quite worried about meeting all the guys on site, but they were all really nice!
Abigail: Not really, I wasn’t that apprehensive, just mainly excited about experiencing a real workplace.
What advice do you have for other people thinking about working at StuartBarr CDR for their work experience?
Curtis: Don’t be anxious or worried about it because everyone’s so friendly and welcoming.
Abigail: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you get stuck or make a mistake, it’s much better to ask and get it sorted rather than waste time sitting there. Rachele and Suzanne in the design pod were very helpful. When I got confused we managed to fix any problems together.
After experiencing working in interior design and construction/joinery, would you still like to work in this field?
Curtis: Definitely. Before work experience, I was leaning towards being a plumber, but carpentry drew my eye after working at StuartBarr CDR and I would love to pursue it in the future.
Abigail: Yes, I would love to design when i’m older and although working at the Barr Group broadened my eyes to other fields of design. I would like to explore working in kitchens or joinery design.
What did you learn about the world of work from this work experience?
Curtis: I had to wake up much earlier to get to the site by 7:30. That was a challenge!
Abigail: I didn’t think it would be that hard to pick out outfits to wear for work, but you have to find clothes that are smart enough to make a good impression. The work was quite different to school and what I’m used to. You have to be confident and able to put your point of view across.
How would you sum up your experience at StuartBarr CDR?
Curtis: A great experience and very well organised.
Abigail: It was the best introduction I could have had to the world of work!
The Barr Group would like to thank Agnes, Curtis and Abigail for their very real contribution to the organisation and for their willingness to throw themselves into the experience. Their genuine enthusiasm was contagious and we all grew as much as they did through having them with us.