Work Experience: During a Global Pandemic

We’re Emily and Katie, two second year uni students studying International Tourism and Events Management.
We’re currently undertaking a work experience module, and we chose to complete this in The Insole Court – and we couldn’t have picked a worse time to do it!

We chose Insole Court because it is a heritage site that host multiple events throughout the year such as; weddings, markets and classes.

What it is like doing work experience at this time?

It has been different from other work experience that either of us have done before, there has been no face to face interaction with anyone at The Insole Court. We feel as though Heledd has helped as much as possible and we are so grateful that she managed to come up with projects for us to carry on work experience from home – although, it would have been lovely to meet her.
One of the projects we had to complete was to create questionnaires for volunteers to give an insight into their roles and views of Insole Court. We then used the information received to design social media posters to encourage people to visit and apply to become a volunteer. Although, it was interesting reading volunteers’ opinions and thoughts of Insole Court we wish we had the opportunity to speak to the volunteers face to face rather than through emails.
Below are some of the posters we designed.

Work experience at this time has helped both of us stick to some sort of routine that could be as normal as possible during a lockdown – we appreciate being able to do something worthwhile for Insole Court rather than spending our spare time doing nothing. The aim of our uni module was to undertake experience within the tourism industry, we feel as though we have not been able to take full advantage of the opportunity because we are not physically working at the venue, we are sat at home having discussions, wearing what we want and not spending as much time working as we would if we were there.

How has this affected us?

From the start of our work experience we knew there was a possibility that we would have to complete tasks from home, but we didn’t think it would be for the whole duration – who knew Covid-19 would get this bad?
Completing tasks from home has helped us take our mind off what is going on around the world, although we have uni assignments and exams to concentrate on, this has been something fun we look forward to every Wednesday. We have been feeling stressed and anxious due to the amount of work we still have to do even though all face to face interaction at uni was cancelled in March, exams are still going ahead while other uni’s have cancelled theirs all together!
Whilst we are still working towards our deadlines, the work we have been completing for Insole Court has been enjoyable, it has given us nice breaks between revision and assignments. It doesn’t feel like we are working because the tasks are so different every week compared to uni or actually going into work.

Are we achieving what we had hoped?

The whole purpose of work experience is obviously to build our knowledge, skills and gain more experience of what working at a tourism attraction is truly like. In this sense, no, we have not achieved what we had hoped. This is because we are not having the experience of going to work and meeting new people – visitors, employees, volunteers etc. We feel as though we are completing more desk-based work as opposed to gaining real life experience. We are both introverted people who had hope this work experience would have given us more confidence around new people and helped us understand what we face when we graduate next year – now that’s a scary thought!
We both appreciate that we were still given the opportunity to complete work experience during this uncertain time. We still hope that we are able to gain experience within Insole Court when they reopen and get the chance to meet the people that we have spoken to over the last couple of weeks.
We have never visited Insole Court; however, we feel as though we have learnt a lot about it during our work experience. We now feel like this is a place we would visit. Insole Court is only a short walk from home, but we didn’t really know what it was and what was there. During our work at Insole Court not only have we gained experience, but we have a better understanding of one of Cardiff’s tourist attractions that we were unfamiliar with.

Challenges and benefits

One aspect we found to be challenging was completing projects for Insole Court as well as staying up to date with other assignments. If we were actually going to work at Insole Court, we would have more of a routine, whereas working from home all the days blend into one and we are finding it difficult to get motivated to work on tasks – what day is it again? Another challenge is trying to differentiate between writing as a student for assignments and writing professionally for an organisation, all uni assignments have to be written academically. We have never done anything like this before, so we were unsure of different writing styles.
Insole Court work experience has been beneficial for us, because our final year project is to undertake primary research which we have never done before. During our work experience we designed questionnaires which gives us an advantage when it comes to having to do this in the future.
Most uni assignments are independent studying, therefore this experience has helped us gain team working skills because the majority of the tasks only required one piece of work. We often split tasks into smaller sections to conduct research independently and then work together to create the final piece.

We hope you enjoyed reading our first blog post, working during a lock-down is hard for everyone!
Stay safe and enjoy the sun – while it lasts!

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