I first met Michal, WTBL’s Community Development Manager, when participating in a locally run challenge for young people, the Dragons Apprentice Challenge, in which it was our aim to raise as much money possible for a brilliant local charity, Teens Unite. Michal was my group’s business mentor and I was captivated by his passionate enthusiasm for our local area and became very interested in WTBL’s work and how they operate.
My school, Haileybury Turnford, offers a week off of our studies in July in order to gain work experience, therefore this was the perfect opportunity for me to get involved in WTBL. Michal and I exchanged emails and had meetings, and decided that a work placement in WTBL office would be highly beneficial to both me and WTBL. We found a number of stimulating and interesting activities I would be able to complete during the week, for which Michal deserves the utmost credit.
During this week I have been able to complete all of the planned tasks and then some; attending and taking notes from meetings with Chief Executives and senior members from the Local Trust and representatives from Herts Sports Partnership, attending Big Local’s health walk and baby group, merging databases, helping prepare upcoming WTBL events, and much more. I’ve really had a chance to experience first-hand the work Big Local does for the community.
I’ve learnt much during this week, such as the administrative skills of running a business, what goes into running weekly sessions, as well as one-off events, how businesses spread their messages via email and also how to work with a variety of people, from professionals to babies. Working with WTBL’s volunteer web coordinator, Becky, particularly enlightened me to the technological side of running WTBL and she is an excellent example of the dedication and hard work I now see is needed to run a business.
The best part of this week would definitely be meeting such a diverse, vibrant group of people that differed every day and truly recognising the work that goes into WTBL and the positive impact they have on the community. Through working with Michal and WTBL partners, as well as the Local Trust and Herts Sports, I have been able to understand the behind the scenes work that goes into the incredible influence that Big Local have. As well as this, I have experienced first-hand the genuine impact WTBL have, through the weekly baby group sessions and health walk, of which I had the opportunity to attend this week.
Looking back, I would’ve liked to be more involved in planning a larger event that WTBL offer, such as their upcoming Leigh-On-Sea trip. Although, I have been involved in the smaller administrative tasks that go into planning the event. Also, the majority of the planning for upcoming events had already been completed due the incredible organisation of WTBL, therefore I was able to assist in as many ways possible at the time.
This week has definitely exceeded my expectations, working in a calm, welcoming environment, entrusted with a lot of freedom, has been thoroughly enjoyable and a lot of fun. I have also felt a part of the WTBL team, having been immersed so deeply in the organisation, something that I perhaps would not have got to experience in a larger establishment. As well as enjoying myself, I feel I have been useful to WTBL and have also learnt a great deal. I would recommend a work placement with WTBL, should they choose to offer them in the future. Especially for those interested in the business or non-profit sector, or those who are interested in their local community and looking to become more involved.
Holly Waughman, Year 12