I am currently studying at a sixth-form college in Oxford, born and raised in Myanmar I am here in the UK to pursue my dreams of being a mechanical engineering student. A few of you might be wondering how I landed summer work experience at Skillstruct, a tech consultancy start-up. It all started with a presentation at my school during a hackathon from Skillstruct. Intrigued by start-ups and wanting further gain insight into the tech industry, I contacted the Founder Michael and asked if he would take me on board for a work experience program. After a thorough introductory video call in which we discussed our goals, Michael agreed to have me at Skillstruct for a 6-week work experience program. The program enabled me to develop numerous skills and experience in the work lifestyle as well as learn how a consultancy business model operates. This blog will highlight some of those insights.
Because I live in Oxford, the only way to physically be in the London office was to commute to the Skillstruct office via the Oxford Tube. However, they understood my situation and I was allowed to work remotely and only come in when required. This immensely improved the overall experience and the organisation even covered my travel fees, which eliminated my transportation concerns. On the days I was in the office building, it provided an amiable atmosphere where I could focus on getting my work done for the day, whilst also having time to explore the city. In terms of overall communication, the Skillstruct members not only viewed me as a mentee but also as a team member throughout the entirety of my work experience, which led to a camaraderie beyond the work experience program, as well as opened numerous doors for networking opportunities. Moreover, being provided with Skillstruct merch and company email accounts and memberships further welcomed me and helped me settle in with the team.
Gaining value from work experience
My goal was to learn valuable skills that otherwise could not be obtained from formal education and so it was outside of academics. Therefore, Michael and I catered a plan aligning with what I wanted to achieve from this program, whilst taking into consideration how I could provide value to the company. It started with reviewing Skillstruct content as I openly discussed with the team, learning, and improving the quality and content of the videos, ranging from creating thumbnails to amending audio quality. Further down the week, I was tasked with shooting and editing my TikTok videos, where I could utilise the massive office building and its lighting and private room to my advantage. I also started analysing statistics from the website to see the impact of the videos and used them to create niche videos.
Also, I was able to learn more about website design as I worked alongside the team to revamp the company’s website during the summer. The redesigning was done by utilising WordPress to alter the website’s layout. As inspiration, we analysed a myriad of consultancy websites and then worked on creatively redesigning the website. One memorable experience afterwards was when I and a team member had to present our ideas as if we were in an actual job setting, whilst Michael and the team advised on how we could look more presentable as well as more confident. I presented the chatbot function, which we successfully implemented.
One of the most interesting aspects of the work experience was attending numerous meetings, especially the meeting with Microsoft, as I got a rare insight into how pitching calls are handled by professional consultants like Michael. I learned how crucial communication skills are, and the program immensely helped with developing such skills. Moreover, as I looked at how a tech consultancy operates, I was amazed to see how Skillstruct, despite being a small startup, was able to massively impact the careers of numerous people, including me.
All students should look for work experience
If you are a student who still hasn’t applied for a university course, work experience is a great way to get an idea of what future career options look like. It’s best if you can find one that directly corresponds to your interests but having one is still better than nothing. This is because it opens new perspectives on different careers and is a great simple way to explore and experience different vocations.
How can you get work experience?
It starts with reaching out and cold emails from numerous companies. Although I didn’t need a CV for Skillstruct, other companies might require one so make sure you polish up your CV, Skillstruct can also help you with that. Don’t be discouraged when companies reject your cold emails. If you keep on trying, you’ll eventually end up with work experience. Alternative options to cold emailing include attending conferences and looking out for work experiences on online websites.
After completion, I met the goals that I had initially set for the work experience program and had the added benefit of writing about this work experience in my UCAS personal statement. I was able to learn numerous life skills from teamworking to joining pitching calls, whilst being able to develop actual skills such as videography, video editing and website designing. Moreover, I was able to gain valuable insight into the world of consultancy which, after the work experience might just be an option I choose as an engineer after graduating from university. Life is all about taking on new experiences and using that to help make future decisions that will take you a step closer towards your goals. I encourage you to reach out to SkillStruct or any other company and start looking for work experience!