By Harriet Harper-WilliamsThis year, a work experience placement has been a challenging thing to attain. Due to the pandemic, many schools decided against allowing their students to have this opportunity. However, Looe Community Academy (LCA) decided to give us a chance to participate in a week-long placement.

LCA’s headteacher, Mr Scott Yalden, explained that both local businesses and the academy have made sure to put measures in place to ensure that employees and students are working in a COVID-secure environment.

“I believe that the risk is low and there are benefits to students participating in work experience,” he said.

“It provides students with a valuable insight into what employment is like; the working hours, commuting, the expectations of roles and what it is like to work in different sectors of employment.

“Sometimes a student imagines a job to be very different to what they experience and so that is important learning to help shape their thinking about their futures.”

Around 50% of the students at Looe Community Academy went out on work experience whilst the other half stayed in school, participating in a range of activities during the week including listening and speaking to local employers providing interview advice, and taking part in mock job interviews. Either way, students have learnt in different ways what it is like to have a job and the requirements that are expected in different industries.

Personally, I have always loved journalism and have wanted to be a part of the media and publishing industry for a long time. Having the opportunity of doing work experience at The Cornish Times has been extremely insightful and has made me realise that I would love to pursue a job in this industry in the future. It has been such a varied job, with research tasks, learning about different news stories every day and interviewing people.

I have learnt numerous things such as the process of putting the newspaper together, the different roles within the business, how proof-reading works and so much more! This has been a brilliant way for me to improve my communication skills and to understand what it takes to be a successful journalist.

Another student from Looe who went out for work experience is Brooke Seddon, who went to Looe Primary Academy. She told me that she had also attained many new skills and learned a great deal of things about being a teacher. She said: “I have been helping children with work in small groups and those who ask for help in class. I have also been setting them small tasks and marking them.

“I’ve most enjoyed working with the children that I wouldn’t usually work with and seeing the positive outcomes that occur when they answer questions correctly or understand the work. I have also learnt how to teach those younger than me to understand problems and overcome challenges whilst still remaining positive.

“I’ve improved my communication skills and can explain work and problems to others and help them overcome it.”

Not only Brooke and I, but all students who talked to me about their work experience, have found this an incredible opportunity. As the head says, it helps either by confirming their future career plans or steering them in new and unanticipated directions.

Participating in work experience this year will be something unforgettable and has changed my outlook on the future entirely. I am so grateful that I have been able to do this in these difficult times and I have loved working with such welcoming and kind staff at The Cornish Times!