Work Placements: Bridging the gap between unemployment and employment

Having recently left school, Joshua Davies found himself struggling to get any work, citing his lack of experience and a poorly written CV as the main causes. After a year of sending out CVs and having no luck, Josh decided to visit his local job centre, which referred him to Itec. Whilst at Itec, Josh enrolled on to the Employability Skills Programme, where he worked to develop his writing skills and learn how to write an effective CV whilst also gaining valuable work experience in a sector which he thoroughly enjoyed.

From the start, Josh made it clear to his tutor that he had a strong interest in ICT, having built his own PC from scratch at the age of 15 and being an avid PC gamer. With all of Josh’s strengths and interests in mind, Claire, his tutor, ensured Josh was given the best possible opportunity in line with his needs and requirements.

Josh had a few barriers to address in order to improve his chances of gaining employment, two of which he notes himself, being a lack of quality work experience and a poorly written CV. Firstly, with the guidance of Claire, his tutor, Josh worked to develop his writing skills as well as his understanding of what employers look for in a CV, which consequently helped him produce a better quality CV. Claire then worked with our Traineeship Employer Engagement Team to source Josh a high-quality work placement within the ICT industry, to bulk up his CV as well as provide Josh with an opportunity to develop sector-specific skills. It was identified that Josh struggled with his confidence, and both Josh and his tutor agreed that being on placement would help him develop his interpersonal skills and create meaningful working relationships, which would in turn help increase his confidence.

Josh was able to secure a work placement, working for Itec’s ICT department at their head office in Cardiff. His day-to-day tasks were varied, and included wiping old phones and laptops for reuse, dismantling, and repairing laptops, as well as answering some of the ICT support. The latter, proved to be quite challenging for Josh at the start due to his confidence issues, but soon enough Josh had grown into his role and had no issues dealing with various members of staff across the business.

“When Josh first started, he had self-confidence issues and found it hard to interact with staff, but since then I have seen a vast improvement. For example, he recently undertook an audit project which involved ringing up every member of staff, and he showed signs of improvement with every call he made” – Jamie Knight, ICT Support Officer at Itec.

Josh credits his mentors, Jamie Knight, and Billy Burrows, as to why he has progressed so much in so little time, stating that both mentors have provided him with valuable support and guidance which he is very grateful for.

“Billy has taught me a lot about the virtual side of things, such as dealing with asset databases and films. Whilst Jamie has helped me more with the physical side of things, such as how to update and repair servers and laptops”

Due to the great improvement and development shown by Josh throughout his placement, he was recently offered a full-time job as an ICT Assistant with Itec. This is a great achievement for Josh and shows how much he has progressed in such little time.

“I’m extremely happy to have been offered employment with Itec, as the organisation has been very welcoming and has a very close-knit community. They have also given me the opportunity to further my skills and develop my knowledge in an area I find extremely interesting”

Josh credits his success to being able to undertake a work placement.

“I have to admit, I don’t think I would’ve been able to find work so quick, or so relevant to my interests, if I hadn’t done a work placement. The work placement provided me with an opportunity to prove my worth, as well as demonstrate my reliability, consistency, and eagerness to learn”

Billy Burrows, Itec’s ICT Support officer was equally as impressed with Josh’s progression throughout his placement and into his employment.

“Since Josh started with us as an employee, I’ve seen the same steady progression as I did when he was on placement. He finds learning and undertaking new tasks a lot easier than most, and although he still seems to be dealing with confidence issues, he turns up on time every day, applies himself to whatever new challenge I give him, and seems to be happy doing so”

Josh’s future aspirations consist of strengthening his CV through developing his skills within the role, as well as gaining recognised ICT qualifications.

”I am very conscious of the fact that I need to continue my learning journey in order to keep progressing”

When asked what advice he would give to a friend that was considering doing a work placement, Josh emphasised the importance of staying motivated.

“if you’re unsure you’ll enjoy it, give it a go, if it doesn’t work out then it’s not the end of the world, keep going until you find the right opportunity for you”.