Work Experience at the Aquarium


16th November 2016

By Karen Wilcocks

So far I have written blogs on both teaching at the Aquarium and preparing for our Family Fright Night show. I still love teaching and will (hopefully) continue to play a part in developing some fun performances at the Aquarium in the future! But today I have chosen to focus on something a little it different: work experience!

As Work Experience Coordinator, it is my role to interview students who would like a week long work placement with us. It is always interesting speaking with pupils with varied interests and hearing their reasons for wanting to work in an aquarium. I’ve interviewed some really passionate people who, despite still being of school age, are already quite knowledgeable about our oceans and passionate about how we can protect them.

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During their placements it’s great to see pupils discover what it’s like being in the Discovery and Learning Team. From chatting to members of the public about marine conservation to shadowing the teaching of school groups, students get the opportunity to observe what we do and think about possible career routes to take in the future.  Did you know what you wanted to do as a career when you were 15? I can honestly say that I was confused about what my options were and it took me some time to find a direction! This is why I feel work placements are so useful for young people as it gives them the opportunity to discover possible routes they would like to take, or in some cases, which routes they would rather avoid!

Students on work experience placements also get to work on a project of their choice and we’ve had some brilliant results from some very hard working people. For instance, many have come up with ideas for ‘Busking Games’ which are short, educational activities carried out with children who visit us. We’ve even had a fish ‘Guess Who’ game created from scratch!

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But it’s not just about the fish. I’ve seen work experience students grow in confidence during the week as they develop both their communication and customer service skills through interacting with the public. Some have even improved their presentation skills through delivering a short Octopus talk to a group of visitors. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of guts when you’re still at school and have only been working somewhere for a week! So well done them.

I’ll end this blog by saying I’m looking forward to meeting the next lot of young aspiring Marine Biologists we’ll have coming to us next year. Thanks for reading my blog and hope to see you around the aquarium some time soon!

If you’d like to do work experience here at the Aquarium email your reasons why to workexperience@national-aquarium.co.uk

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