A week in the life of… a work experience student
17 year old 6th form student Chiara Baty spent a week on work experience with us back in July. She loved it so much she wrote this blog post all about it! CHEERS CHIARA!
I have just completed a week’s work experience with Mousetrap Theatre Projects, and what a week it has been! I have been in-office, helping with admin tasks, and also in the Vaudeville and St Martins Theatre, both located in the West End for the two annual playmakers events which are such gratifying experiences.
It has also been eye opening for myself as a sixth form student to see what work life is like in London, one of the busiest capital cities in the world. The days are long and the commute is tiring - but for me it has been totally worth it, I was lucky enough to be given this opportunity and I have without question made the most of my time here.
First of all the location is superb, it couldn’t possibly be anymore central, you are constantly surrounded by the bustle of the city, the office looks onto Shaftesbury Avenue; Covent Garden and Oxford street are minutes away on foot, and the Mousetrap team made me feel very welcome as soon as I stepped through the door on Monday morning.
Monday was an early start, Patrick, the Creative Learning Manager and I arrived at the office at 8:30, a prompt start so that Patrick could begin rehearsing for his Playmakers show on Wednesday with his four actors, all with huge amounts of talent – watching them rehearse was most definitely one of my favourite moments of the week, watching the actors swap in and out of different characters – each with different personalities and accents was so fun to watch, each obviously accompanied by stories with equally amazing ideas.
Here I did typical admin roles such as printing, and also had an induction into what my working week would look like, busy, to say the least! At lunchtime I sat in a small garden hidden between the busy side streets off Shaftesbury Avenue, where the Soho village fete takes place – it was nice to be able to take an hour away from the office and make the most of being in London – particularly making the most of getting a drink from the abundance of Pret A Mangers!!
The afternoon was accompanied by small jobs that needed doing for the Playmakers the following Tuesday, organising props, scripts, surveys, again just admin-type jobs which needed doing to help things go smoothly the following day.
Tuesday was another fairly early start, I was at the Vaudeville theatre for 10am to help with the dress rehearsal, when the schools arrived myself and a few others helped usher schools to their seats, and then during the interval I asked the schools attending the Playmakers and who wrote the scripts for the three plays shown to complete a survey regarding the progress they felt that they had made throughout the Playmakers sessions.
This particular Playmakers event was for children who were hard of hearing or deaf, it was tough at times to get information across to the children and also the other people helping who were also deaf or hard of hearing – but a good experience nonetheless, as I learned how to work with people I may not normally get chance to communicate with. I then returned to the office with Jo, props in hand, and for the rest of the day I helped pack Jo’s props away and helped Patrick organise the necessities he required for his Playmakers event the following day.
Arrival at Mousetrap Theatre Projects for 8:30, prompt start for Patrick and his cast as show time was rapidly approaching. A few final amendments to the performance were made whilst I did jobs which Patrick needed doing to ensure everything was in order so that the show could run smoothly. We then made our way over to the theatre, where I was helping in the foyer; escorting guests to their seats and ensuring that the schedule was being adhered too.
The performances were extremely amusing, and the children’s faces lit up when their performance was shown onstage – which is why the experience was so rewarding, and must have been even more so for Mousetrap Theatre Projects, putting on such a big event in such a short period of time is never a relaxing experience! All participants were definitely satisfied and so pleased to see their ideas be performed in a West End theatre.
After this myself and two other students were given the task of completing surveys with the children, similarly to Tuesday. We then headed out for lunch which I took again in the garden by the office – which is surprisingly tranquil considering the extremely demanding and busy location.
I was then tasked with sending out the confirmation letters to the families participating in Family First Nights. I did around 50 of these confirmation letters, and there are around 450 more to go! So good luck to the person who continues with this mammoth task as it requires concentration in the fact that the letters correspond to each receipt and each family id – a laborious task with a never ending feeling of gratitude and amazement at just how much something like this can change a child’s life and to see how excited all of the school students were was just as exciting for me as it was for them. Also knowing that I have been lucky enough to help such an amazing charity is something I will always be grateful for!
Thursday entailed a day at the office, in the morning I continued helping Zeynep, one of the people doing voluntary work at Mousetrap Theatre Projects, with the sending off of confirmation letters – it was so nice to be able to sit down with someone I hadn’t yet particularly had the chance to speak too, whilst doing said task, obviously. I also made the most out of being in Soho, and of the many restaurants in the area, and therefore went to lunch at Belgo, a sweet Belgian restaurant tucked between a hairdresser and a German restaurant on Old Compton Street. If you ever get the opportunity to work for Mousetrap, I highly recommend visiting this restaurant!
Post-lunch was full of write ups, including this blog, and more confirmation letters, learning the admin side of office jobs is definitely important, and a great skill to have. Particularly when working in busy environments like this when there is always something to do as this charity is busy year-round. Admin is also a convenient skill to have as it helps with organisation skills and you often have to go quite quickly as confirmation letters, for example, needed to be sent off as quickly as possible so that the families received them in time.
Friday, I am regretful to say, was my last day at Mousetrap! I had spent such a good week – I would definitely have done two weeks if I had the chance! I continued doing jobs to help things run smoothly in the office and also continued writing up blog posts. It was a fairly quiet day, as some members of the team went to see ‘The Gruffalo’ in the morning, admin was being sorted and finalised downstairs and I was continuing with my blog post. Patrick brought his dog, Banjo, which is always a nice touch and helps keep people going if they start tiring throughout the day!
I was looking forward to the next day as soon as I left the office in the evening, the people at Mousetrap are hugely welcoming and always had something for me to do, whether it was milk runs to the nearby Tesco, writing a blog post, printing, or helping out with general office jobs. The experience has been so good and so much fun, the insight into a busy working life is one which all students need to set them up for later life, I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to spend the week here – I had never done anything like this before so it was great to learn new skills and meet new people, and also become accustomed to work-life, as this is not something that 17 year olds typically get to experience, despite it being vital. I now feel much more comfortable working in an office and knowing which jobs you can offer to do throughout the working day.
I would definitely recommend work experience at Mousetrap, for an amazing experience working with some wonderful people!