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My week of work experience at NCFE

Last week I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do some work experience at NCFE. I’m currently studying A-Level Sociology, Politics and BTEC Applied Law at Durham Sixth Form Centre. I spent two and a half days with the Policy team followed by two and a half days with the Marketing team.  I really enjoyed my time with the teams and feel that I learned a lot about the type of work that is done in these areas.

On my first day, I was given an ICT induction and taught how the systems work within the office. As this was my first time in an office setting, it was quite interesting to see how technology is used in a large scale office. Afterwards, Paul Turner from the Policy Team showed me around the office and introduced me to the different teams. I found it very interesting to get an overview of how many different teams contribute to making the company successful.

During the office tour I was able to meet the CEO, which was a great opportunity and he made me feel very welcome. The relaxed atmosphere in the office as well as the friendly staff made it possible to quickly settle in and feel at ease.

I then watched a webinar about how technology and VLEs can be used in a learner-centric manor which I found to be an interesting approach, especially as I considered it from the point of view of a student.

On Tuesday, I started off the day with a research task. I felt that the work I was doing was useful for the team which definitely motivated me.

I then had a meeting with the Schools team about V Certs. This was very helpful in understanding the type of qualifications NCFE deliver as 14-16 education is something I’ve completed recently. After this, I was sent the link to a live consultation regarding the government’s review of post-18 education and funding. It was interesting to read up on something that will likely directly affect me in just over a years’ time. I left some comments on the consultation where I thought my perspective as a student may have been beneficial.

Later on I attended a storyboarding meeting about the upcoming T-Level qualifications. It was a great opportunity to see how a storyboarding meeting works and how different members of the team brought up different points based on their personal expertise.

When the meeting had finished I met with Ashleigh, a Qualification Developer, who gave me an overview of how a qualification is developed. This was really helpful for me to get a grasp on how NCFE creates qualifications and was useful to visualise how much work actually goes into creating a qualification.

On Wednesday, I started the day with a Speaking and Presenting with Impact course that was delivered by Andrew from the Policy team. Public speaking is something I’ve always struggled with so I was looking forward to this session. At the start of the session, the other attendees and I were called up one by one to present for a minute on any topic without any preparation. I found this very daunting and struggled to fill the entire minute. After this, we did some exercises to relax our nerves and prepare us for speaking. This was followed by a fantastic presentation on how to structure a speech and tips on how to make an effective PowerPoint presentation. At the end of the session we were again asked to do a one minute presentation on any topic in which we all had improved quite significantly from our initial presentation. I feel that the speaking and presenting session has given me very valuable tools for future situations that may involve speaking and presenting such as in class or job interviews.

After that session, I was lucky enough to attend an event on agile thinking in terms of business. After an introduction into what agile thinking is and how it can apply to businesses, we got into groups of ten to take part in the dice game which was a great way to visualise how blockages can slow progress as well as how a team could work together to free up these blockages.

On Wednesday afternoon, I started my remaining two and a half days with the Marketing team. Kievah, PR & Social Media Officer, gave me an overview of the work she does and introduced me to the rest of the Marketing team. I then familiarised with NCFE’s social media accounts and read through the NCFE blog.

I also wrote up an article about the Helena Kennedy Foundation which is one of the charities that NCFE works with. I enjoyed researching the Helena Kennedy Foundation and looking at examples of NCFE’s writing style, which I tried to apply to the article I created.

On Thursday Morning, I had a chat with Jaeden who explained to me what the Digital Marketing team does. It was very interesting to find out how the NCFE website is managed and how the content is chosen to go on the website. I also enjoyed seeing how adverts are created and where they are applied, and seeing the analytics of the site visitors.

I was asked to help proofread documents and emails such as CACHE news which was a great opportunity to develop a skill that will no doubt be useful in my own studies as well as my future career.

I then met with Rachel who is a Marketing Officer and helped her to research for an article regarding SEND students missing out on school places. This opened my eyes to an issue I was not very aware of and I enjoyed being able to learn as I researched. I also got to listen to a fascinating perspective of a parent of a child with SEND.

On Friday Morning I worked on boosting social media followers for the NCFE twitter account before meeting with Lindsay, the Marketing and Communications Manager, who gave me an overview of the structure of the Marketing team, the type of campaigns that the team run and how their effectiveness is measured. I found this to be very helpful for getting a better idea on how the team works and brings in new customers.

I later had a meeting with Marcus who is the Marketing Leader for CACHE. He explained his role and gave me an insight into how I might get into marketing in the future. This was great as it helped me get a good vision into what I should be aware of when looking for a job.

After lunch, I wrote another article on the recent accreditation of the Asian Institute of Logistics’ ProMover qualification. It was interesting to see what work NCFE does in other countries as before starting my work experience I didn’t realise NCFE worked internationally.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at NCFE and feel that I’ve learned many transferable skills. I’ve discovered many things about the education sector such as the work that actually goes into developing a qualification and how they are promoted to bring on more learners. My time with both teams has given me a clear insight of the type of work involved with both Policy and Marketing which has been very beneficial in giving me an idea of my future career plans. Being in the office, I really got an impression of the passion that the NCFE staff have for education. I would like to say a huge thank you everyone at NCFE for making me feel so welcome, especially the Policy and Marketing teams, and also anyone who took time out of their day to talk with me. The week was a great opportunity and I am very grateful to everyone who has made it possible.