The Next Generation of Work Experience

Chiswick teenager George Garfoot proves he has a winning work ethic


Interview with George Garfoot –

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Work experience can be as challenging to source as paid work. Recent findings from The National Council for Work Experience (NCWE) suggest that over 80% of students and graduates are unaware of work placement schemes in their region.

Sometimes, it’s the opportunities that you create for yourself that can really make a difference. It’s more important than ever to network and use who you know to help you kick-start your career with an impressive CV.

Equally, it’s never too early to start, as 15 year old George Garfoot found out when he undertook a work experience placement with Trinity Mirror Digital Recruitment (TMDR).

“When my mum told me I was going to do my work experience at Canary Wharf, I was so excited. Every time work experience was mentioned at school, I took the opportunity to remind my friends that I was going to be working somewhere a million times better than where they were!

“When I got off the tube on my first morning, I remember thinking that it was a lot like school: where everyone gets off a packed train at the same station wearing practically the same thing. But when I reached the nineteenth floor, I saw that everyone who I was working with was wearing jeans and t-shirts, so I didn’t feel stupid in my polo shirt and trainers.

“My godmother is the finance director at TMDR, so she helped me organise my placement. On my first day, I wasn’t as nervous as I would’ve been if I hadn’t have known anyone. On the other hand, I was slightly worried that everyone there would be serious in suits – that wouldn’t be any fun at all. However, when I got there I realised that everyone was really laidback and easygoing. I could tell they worked hard, but squeezed in a joke or two in between.

“I’ve done all sorts of jobs during my week here – from sorting through an eight-month backlog of post, to designing wireframes for iPhone apps, to testing websites that would soon go live. To be honest, I thought all I’d be doing would be photocopying and making tea, but everyone here has been really nice to me and made sure that my work wasn’t boring and that I always had something to do – they even made me an itinerary. I’m still having a ball here as everyone is keeping me occupied and working hard!

“I’ve also had my first glimpse of challenging work. I was asked to fill in a massive spreadsheet which included loads of really difficult steps. Fortunately, I had someone sitting next to me to explain all the IT jargon as I had no idea what it meant.

“Overall, I am so glad I got placed here because this is proper work experience that I can use for later life; although I doubt any other places have such a relaxed atmosphere as TMDR.”

George made an impression on the rest of the team, too. Dave Thomson, Product Manager at TMDR, said, “While it’s great to have an extra pair of hands on the team, people are sometimes apprehensive that someone doing work experience will slow them down – the last thing you need when working to tight deadlines. George was completely the opposite. On his first morning he had created a report for the company directors, and later in the week produced a wireframe that will be used in our iPhone app. I was impressed with George’s technical know-how for someone of only fifteen, and he clearly has a winning work ethic.”

Interview with George Garfoot –

July 28, 2010