Posted: Sun 9th Jul 2023

Invaluable work experience inspires Flintshire high school students

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jul 9th, 2023

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Students at a Flintshire high school have developed their interpersonal skills and gained an insight into a wide range of careers after completing a week’s work experience with local companies.

Argoed High School’s year 10 students were able to approach companies they were interested in themselves, or select from a list of 70 businesses on the Dream Safety Ltd. website, a company that provides a work experience health and safety vetting service for schools. 

Charlotte Hughes, Welsh bacc and skills coordinator, organises the work experience week at the school.  She said: “Work experience allows the students to gain many skills such as independence, the ability to work with people they don’t know, and communication and listening skills. 

“Crucially, it allows students to experience what they think they would like to do when they leave school and form their own opinions of that job role. This could potentially change their interests and make them realise whether or not they want to follow a particular career path.

“The feedback we have received about our students from all the employers has been fantastic.  They are wonderful ambassadors for our school, and we are extremely proud of them.”

Sandra Hewitt, Blacon City Farm, said: “It has been a pleasure to accommodate five Argoed students for work experience.  They grew more confident as the week went on, and went above and beyond their own expectations. I wish all the students well and hope this work experience will help in the future when they are ready for further education or the world of work.”

Nikki Pearce, Chair of Governors at Argoed High School and owner of Vivaldi Flowers, spoke about how valuable work experience is for students.  She said: “I’d like to thank all of those involved: the businesses, the staff behind the scenes organising all the placements and, of course, the students who I hope really enjoyed themselves and gained insights into how a business operates, the physical work that is involved, and how different each day can be.

“As a local business owner, I feel it’s so important to get involved and give our next generation of employees a taste of the working environment. Yet again, this has been a hugely successful week.”

Sienna James and Jess Vale Rowlands spent the week working at Gina’s Hair and Beauty Salon.  Gina said: “The girls were very well mannered, polite, fun to work with, and soon became part of the team.  They were able to follow directions and learnt some new skills, from customer service and gowning up clients ready for cuts and colouring, to shampooing and blow drying and, more importantly, doing everything with a smile.”   

Sienna said: “I found work experience week to be very beneficial. It allowed me to develop my communication and teamwork skills and opened my eyes to what working in a salon is really like.” 

Lily Roberts attended Ysgol Mynydd Isa Infants School for her placement.  She said: “I found the week to be very useful and highly beneficial as it fuelled my ambitions to be a primary school teacher.”  

Several students also worked with Robertson Construction on the new school site.  

Shannon Dawe, Community Impact Advisor, said: “The students participated in the Bringing Construction To You program. As part of the program, the students worked on developing a business case for a new sports and health complex in the local area. They considered aspects such as design, cost, sustainability, and community involvement in their project. At the end of the week, they presented their proposal to the team. The students also enjoyed site visits, engaging talks by Robertson staff, and building challenges using LEGO. 

“The week proved to be a valuable opportunity for the students to interact with construction professionals and explore potential career paths within the industry. We hope the students had a great time, as we certainly did!”

Prior to attending their placements, students were given a Work Experience Pack with information about what to wear and what to expect.  They also completed an Agored Cymru booklet explaining how they planned their week, what was required of them, and what health and safety procedures they had to follow. By completing the booklet, along with a few other pieces of information, the students stand to gain 2 B grades at GCSE.

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