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Citizenship: Work Experience
Free essay example:
Citizenship Course work:
Work Experience at Solicitor’s office
Chapter 1: Planning
For my work experience I was given my work experience placement in a Solicitor’s office, the solicitor’s offices name being ‘Hackman & Co Solicitors’. This took place from the 15th of May 2006 to 26th of May 2006. I was not given a specific position there but my work evolved me helping doing filing, photocopying, making documents on the computer and overall doing odd jobs around the offices of ‘Hackman & Co Solicitors’. Before I had gone on to work experience I had to arrange an interview with the company. This required me to arrange an interview with the employer. My interview took place a week before the week we started the work experience. As this was the first time I had ever started work experience it gave me responsibility as I was becoming a good citizen, to become a good citizen there are 4 necessities which citizenship involves:
- Awareness of the structures that influence your life – like politics, society and the economy.
- Social and moral responsibility – knowing your civic rights and duties and having a respect for diversity in society.
- Political literacy – having a respect for democracy and understanding the importance of being active in the democratic process.
- Community involvement – active participation in your school, neighbourhood and beyond.
I am trying to base my aims on the above points and declare myself as acting as a citizen within a community.
My other aims which I would also like to base my coursework on are:
- To find out what interests me in the working world and also to gain experience for future reference.
- What a life of Solicitor is and assess their behavior of my employer.
- Learn and gain experience of the Health and safety policies and rights and responsibilities within the workplace.
- Gaining the necessities of being a good citizen and taking on responsibilities which are needed in the future.
These aims are all officially part of being a good citizen by helping the youth and people who have not had work experience to understand what the working life is.
Overall I am trying to combine my personal experience in the workplace to contribute the way the curriculum develops this helps advance in my coursework which gives the coursework more material to use and it becoming an official citizenship coursework. So I would like to show my accounts and activities of my work experience by personally introducing it to a wider range of students who have not experienced work.
Going to work and going to school are two completely different things however at times can be similar. By going on to work experience I gained an insight of the working world and also gained independence for the first time also introducing self confidence. I also wanted to see what interests me and what my likes and dislikes are. This would help me choose the right career in the future and also help me have an insight of what I am capable of.
This is a vital point of work experience as build independence, self-esteem and confidence as they are all parts of becoming a citizen in your own right, which I believe important for anyone new to the working world.
At school you are under constant supervision (teachers) and sometimes at school you may not have the will or enthusiasm you do then you have at work experience according to my experience. However there are similarities to work experience and school firstly attending on time to the work place is similar to attending to school on time or suffer the consequences, discipline and determination is also needed in the work place similar to school and lastly enjoying work and enjoying school are similar as if you enjoy work and learning you can achieve greatly.
So ideally it is more similar to being school and inevitably you may have head-start.
The health and safety policy is and should be considered and always told by all employers. This would ensure the safety of all workers and keep them out of danger. Being safe without worrying is something which everyone should be able to do, a part of the Health and safety policy all workers should safe and it is also the employee’s legal rights. (Health and Safety Act of Work 1974). At my workplace there were
Many Health and safety Precautions in place the most relevant out of the list has to be about taking regular breaks for the computer as computer’s are today’s technology and are used a lot around workplaces. There was a computer in each office so regular
Breaks form workers were constant. There were many other health and safety policies
Which were similar to the health and safety policies at school.
The health and safety policy was politically made to ensure the ‘health and safety’ of workers in the workplace this is ideally linking to the above aims of how the democracy ensures for our health and safety.
Overall within the coursework I am going to provide what I have gained in work experience and try expressing my experience in a way for people to understand what I have established in the workplace to help others waiting or have not gained work experience.
Research legal practices on the internet, local newspapers (Leader and Wembley Observer). To find out the range of legal businesses in Brent.
This will help me to find out more about the employer and his business, Which is relevant when coming to the interview; This will also help me to decide whether I will enjoy the work place.
Meeting with cousin who is qualified in a law degree to find out what an interview is like and what to expect in the working world.
This gave me insight and great enthusiasm and more confidence when starting work as I gain expectations.
Arranged meeting with work experience coordinator. Telephone the employer to arrange an interview at an appropriate time.
I will know what time my interview is and it will give me time to prepare.
Start to prepare for the interview, for example things to ask the employer.
This made me more confident about my interview.
Interview with work experience coordinator. Provisional job accepted
Placement was confirmed and I asked questions on what I will be doing.
Researched my workplace area and found out relevant information, such as the structures within the company. Also practical issues: route to work. Times at work and dress codes.
Gives me an insight into expectations of the work place which is relevant for my working practice and development.
Read about the rights and responsibilities in citizenship, which will be my first citizenship objective.
I will know more about rights and responsibilities of employees and employees in terms of Health and Safety.
Prepare questionnaire on health and safety for the work place. Read wider literature on health and safety. Start the job with enthusiasm and confidence.
Questionnaire will help me learn more about the health and safety and focus on citizenship as well as having an impact, reading about the wider literature will help me more. It will also make me achieve more on what job I do around the workplace.
Carry out investigation, Researching the facts of Health and Safety in the work place.
This will help me focus on acting as a ‘citizen’ by researching about health and safety.
Read the Health and Safety section of work book.
This will help me more on the polices of health and safety
Prepare report on my second citizenship objective. Health and safety being an important factor in the world of work, I needed to learn the major points of the health and safety for my own and other people’s benefits.
This will help me again focus on citizenship and
Chapter 2: Account of the Activity
The first day of my work experience was the day of the interview, I was feeling very nervous and I had butterflies my mind was so full with mixed feelings and emotions I didn’t no whether to be happy or scared. But whether or not I felt happy or scared I did have a feeling of determination my mind was at a state of confidence and I thought to myself, ‘if have gone through primary school gone thorough 4 years of high school and 15 years of my life without feeling mixed sensations this interview was no sweat!’. So I went into the building with a feeling of Satisfaction.
As I proceeded on with the interview I found out that it was not as scary or hard as I though it would be, I left with knowledge of my first ever job interview and it felt funny and at the same time good.
These are feelings and emotions I went through and most probably the same feelings may occur to anyone on their first time in the workplace.
The first day of my work experience came and I felt excited, excited enough that I was urging for the time to reach for me to leave the house. However at the same time I was hoping that I wouldn’t make any mistakes whilst at my workplace. I was extremely nervous and tense, but the day of my interview did take me away from my tension and nerves.
On the first day I arrived nice and early to give a good impression. Once I got there I met up with my employer who was waiting for me at the front office. She gave me an agenda on what was going around the offices and what I was to expect, I was given another tour of the office, (I was given my fist tour of offices in my interview), I was glad I had got another tour as I did forget some of it.
Once the tour was finished she made meet the employers of the office they all were friendly and straight away I felt another pressure was off my mind, I felt that my need of friends were not as necessary, I straight away felt like I was going to like this job.
Once I settled in I was given light jobs by employer, this included filing and sorting paper work, an employer had also give me a job of sorting out files and writing out important paper work. The work I had to do was not hard but needed a lot of determination and I did feel good about the way people were treating me and what jobs I got or not, I did think at one point that they were trying to test my ability and this to me was a good idea as it showed what I was capable of.
A typical day:
- I would arrive at my workplace at 9am
- A employee would allocate me to a job
- Until the first job was done I would be allocated to other jobs
- I would have a lunch break (1pm)
- I will finish of the work that was left or get on with other work throughout the office
- End of day (5pm) depending on the jobs I had to do.
During the first week of the experience I had some interesting moments and at times embarrassing moments. The most embarrassing had to be the day I had got confused with paperwork and muddled the bunch up in front of my employer. However the employer did not get angry she laughed and said ‘well we all make mistakes’ I felt at the moment I would leave school for work anytime. The most interesting moment was the day I had responsibility of the front desk for an hour up-most, it was interesting as it felt weird being in charge and not dependent and at the same time scary as I worried if I made a mistake (which I did on occasion) but overall it was interesting.
The most memorable experience was out of the two weeks for me was the friendliness aura and the work rate everyone in the offices put in. this was memorable to me as I felt on the days before work experience that people in a workplace and at school were completely different, but yet they were not and I felt that I was not away from friends and people I knew. The work was also a factor of remembering as people doing work at the offices were just full of determination and confidence and I felt stronger as a person to see that.
Overall in the work place I felt that I learnt more in two weeks than I did in a month in school, I developed as a person and I say this as I felt that independence was pouring out of me and self motivation was the best factor of what the work place has done, the skills that I had, to me, had advanced and I learnt more skills one of the main skills, being team effort. The working world now was not as difficult as I thought it would be the working world was also not as different form school. However At school you don’t have that many responsibilities and allot of things are done for you. At work you have a lot of responsibilities because people rely on you to do things. I would consider having a job but I do not intend to make a career out of my work experience. I would like to become a qualified lawyer.
I think that I have achieved my first aim which was to find what interests me and to gain experience in the working world. Even though I am not going to make a career out of my work experience but I have learnt a lot of skills and now I have got the knowledge and insight of the working world
The fact that work experience has developed me, it has also developed me in being a better citizen I have on the following pages made posters and questionnaires about health and safety to participate as citizen by making people observe and do my questionnaires, showing that my work experience has come in to use showing the point of being a citizen, Community involvement – active participation in your school, neighbourhood and beyond.
Rights and Responsibilities of the workplace
One of the citizenship objectives that I focused on as an activity was the rights and responsibilities of work.
- Statutory rights
- Contract of employment
The above points define what I would recommend as being important in the work place. The Rights and responsibilities of the work place are beneficial as it is focusing on what we as a working person have to gain in the work experience.
Contracts of employment cannot take away rights you have by law. So if, for example, an employee has a contract which states they are only entitled to two weeks paid holiday per year, when by law all employees are entitled to four weeks paid holiday per year, this part of the contract is void and does not apply. The right the employee has under law (to four weeks holiday in this case) applies instead.
If your contract gives you greater rights than you have under law, for example, your contract gives you five weeks paid holiday per year, then your contract applies.
There are special rules about the employment of children and young people.
Statutory rights are legal rights based on laws passed by Parliament.
Nearly all workers, regardless of the number of hours per week they work, have certain legal rights. There are some workers who are not entitled to certain statutory rights.
Sometimes an employee only gains a right when they have been employed by their employer for a certain length of time. All employees have statutory rights
In the workplace we have the right to:
- To work in places where all the risks to your health and safety are properly controlled.
- To stop working and leave the area if you think you are in danger.
- To inform your employer about health and safety issues or concerns.
- To contact HSE or your local authority if you still have health and safety concerns and not get into trouble
- To join a trade union and be a safety representative.
- To paid time off work for training if you are a safety representative.
- To a rest break of at least 20 minutes if you work more than six hours at a stretch and to an annual period of paid leave.
As a young person I would need to know this as it plays a major role in the future, in school you can say that the rights and responsibilities can be experienced. For example in schools the statutory rights is experienced when a student expects to be treated respectfully in a learning environment. So overall the rights and responsibilities are key points in focusing on citizenship.
Chapter 3: Focus On Citizenship – Evaluation
“It is profit not policy that determines how companies implement the law”
Health and Safety Act 1974
“An Act to make further provision for securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work, for protecting others against risks to health or safety in connection with the activities of persons at work, for controlling the keeping and use and preventing the unlawful acquisition, possession and use of dangerous substances, and for controlling certain emissions into the atmosphere; to make further provision with respect to the employment medical advisory service; to amend the law relating to building regulations, and the Building (Scotland) Act 1959; and for connected purposes.”
In this chapter I am going to write about the Health and Safety Act 1974. The policy makes it clear that all workers should have a safe environment to work in. This also benefits people who work in dangerous environments of work so that if something goes wrong they are protected by the law.
Another aspect of the Health and Safety Act 1974 is that all employers must follow provide the workers with a safe and hygienic environment to work in. the policy also suggests that the policy should be reviewed to the employer as appropriate and often so that the policy is followed. In most jobs this is a ‘must’ and is strictly followed, in my work experience I was reviewed once within my two weeks and this was due to the fact that it was an office job and the main health and safety issues were regarding our comfort, however in most jobs the health and safety act is reviewed daily, for example builders may have to review the act as their jobs maybe hazardous.
With reference to these points of the policy, I believe that my work place put the policy into practice, for example asking if I had taken breaks continuously throughout the working day, I would also be supervised throughout the day and I would also be asked if I needed help of any sort. Therefore I disagree with the statement “it is profit not policy that determines how companies implement the law”. I do not think that money is a problem as the act does not have that much expense or need any special facilities. To make the profit the companies have to follow the policy so that they don’t end up loosing money. If profit determines how companies apply the law on Health and Safety, then the government can impose a fine on the company for breaking the Health and Safety code of practice.
One aspect of the policy they implement well is the welfare of all the workers to make them feel safe and to keep them away from potential hazards. Another aspect is that that employer’s do not follow all aspects as they should be in responsible to ensure the safety of all customers. I think that the manger of a business should express to the employers of the company to specialize in ensuring that the Health and Safety Act 1974 is carried out everyday, for practical and important use which is needed everyday in a working day.
I know that there is no simple way of ensuring that every aspect of the policy is put into practice because there are many different aspects of the Health and safety Act 1974.
As a way if ensuring that the health and safety policy is noticed I have made a poster to ensure that the policy is regarded as important by the youth, I have acted as citizen by making photocopies for students which they would annotate and see how effective the poster is to them.
This shows how efficiently I am trying act as a citizen towards the community in this case I am being a citizen towards the youth (students who have not started their work experience and people who have not done it due to them either being new to the country or for any other reason). I have also made a questionnaire about health and safety and see what people know about it, this also helps me by gaining more knowledge of what people know and from my experience I can help them within my questionnaire.
Feedback from my posters which were handed was all positive and helped many people in gaining knowledge of the health and safety rules and regulations. This helps me base my coursework on this as I fell that this is an act of citizenship defining the aims and synopsis of what this coursework is about.
The questionnaire also had a positive outcome, with the questionnaire I provided a cartoon which gives a scenario of an everyday scene that has not put the health and safety acting into practice. I put the cartoon so that the person filling in my questionnaire can get an idea of why the health and safety act was made and needs to be put in practice.
Overall I do feel as if I have acted as a citizen in doing these activates as I feel that I have used my work experience and this coursework as again to help people in the future.
Alperton Community School work experience work book
CGP (Coordination Group Publications Ltd. 2004) - Key Stage Four Citizenship the Study Guide – Active Citizenship
Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Work experience reports section.
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