During my work experience at Medway Council, I have learnt how important it is to the local community and the role that they play in everyday life. For example, helping new mothers with their first child and making sure that their mental health is okay. I also went out to care homes as part of my work experience to see how they are run and what the council looks for to make sure the clients are protected. When inspecting a care home, they look at the patients’ file to make sure everything is up to date such as medical checks, health problems, medication, activities, when was the last time they had showers or baths or when they last ate, using a checklist. We also looked at what training the staff had, to see if they are up to date with their qualifications, in order to ensure the patients’ wellbeing is safeguarded.
We looked around the care home to make sure that it was clean and safe, to ensure offices were locked and the fire doors were closed. This made me realise that the patients rely on the council to make sure that they are being properly cared for. The work that the council does sometimes gives a voice to people who are not strong enough to stand up for themselves, and ensures that vulnerable people are being treated properly and that they are safe from any harm. After visiting the care home I did a report on how I thought the care home was doing and what they need to improve on.
The department that I worked in was adult and child care, which involves safeguarding vulnerable children and adults, and making sure that they are being treated right as well as knowing what other problems they are facing. This includes helping children with disabilities and how the council can help them, from getting them in to schools to helping them find work and also giving or finding them work experience to finding jobs.
I also worked with young disabled students (including those with mental health and physical problems). Medway Council tries to help disabled students to be more independent and also gives them support to help them meet their goals. Students with mental health problems often need help with looking for jobs and also learn how to do things for themselves like looking after their own finances, washing, shopping etc. They will tell the council what problems they face accessing some shops, including how they were treated. Some disabled people found it hard to find a job, yet they were well qualified for the job. The council can help them with interview skills and their CVs. The feedback that the people with disabilities gave helps the council to know what is needed and help to create new services.
It was amazing to see how the council supports the local community and what goes on behind the scenes. To be in a council team where you can make a different to people’s life, with your actions making real impact, was a great opportunity.
I also did data collection and market research at a medical centre to investigate how its closure might impact local residents, as well as getting feedback on its services. The council was thinking of closing them down and having four super hub medical centres in Medway, which led to people being worried and some people were too scared to speak out loud, so it was easier for them to write things down. This way, the council will have an idea of what their needs are and how to address them.
I learnt from my work experience how much the council affects our life from healthcare to care homes and everyone’s wellbeing. The council is over-stretched and their budget is low for the job that needs to be done, and their pay is low for the time that they put in. This made me think that the people that work at the council are people who really want to help make a difference. The work that I did in Medway will impact me because I saw how people depend on you to make sure you get your job done.
The bursary has helped me so much with my work experience because it allowed me to get the clothes that I need to work. I never had a suit before, so did not know how to get one and I did not have the money to get a suit and pay for it. The work experience was during Ramadan which means that I was fasting and needed to buy food during work hours, which was expensive. without the bursary I would have had to choose between buying a suit or buying food. This allowed me to focus on my work and what I was doing at my work experience. I needed to find a place to stay during my work experience for the month, so the bursary helped me as I wasn’t going to be able to take the work experience due to financial stress.
The work experience has helped me to know what I will want to go into in the future and the support that I got from my team was amazing from proofreading my reports to reading things to me. IThe work has help me to get the confidence that I need to know that I can go into work and do things that other people can do. The money help me buy the smart clothes and also I will need these clothes again when I apply for by summer jobs as well as apply for a Master’s. This means I can reuse the clothes again in the future for many years to come. I got experience in a working environment which showed me how different working is compared to studying at the University of Kent. The experience was originally meant to be for 2 weeks but they extended it to a month, then they increased it to three months! This gave me the motivation that I can do things for myself and not be scared. Medway Council also gave me a goodbye card and said if I need more work experience then I can contact them. I was the only one that had a Medway staff card as well my own login compared to other people who were doing work experience, which showed that they trusted me.
This would all not be possible without the support and the bursary from the Careers and Employability Service.
– Habib Ali is a recent graduate in Business and Economics.