Harris gets its teenage kicks


This week at Harris, we’ve had 15-year-old Ellis Cleland on work experience with us and asked her to write a blog about her experiences! Take it away, Ellis…

“You’ll be a tea making guru by the end of the week” was what my granddad said to me when he found out I was going on work experience, but I can happily say I am no better at making tea than when I started.

My first day at Harris Associates began with a 4:30am commute to the office. Surprisingly relaxed about attending my first day of real work, I knew it would be no ‘Sex and the City’ Carrie Bradshaw experience, popping off to Starbucks whenever I felt like it, although I will admit that kettle boiling and photocopying were my expectations. Swapping my school uniform for work attire was a welcome change – I was ready for business.

From Day 1 at Harris, it felt like I would have a productive week; instead of learning about ray diagrams or quadratic equations I might acquire new industry and business knowledge, which seemed like a preferable alternative.

A welcoming atmosphere made me feel comfortable in the office and helped me adapt to my new working environment. Being launched into a video analysis task and learning the latest in the “blogosphere” was a constructive way to start my PR journey; no menial tasks here.
During the week I never found myself bored; I was treated as an equal by my colleagues and not in any way ignored.

Day 2 was about the role Twitter plays in the PR industry – observing the effect of social networking for a purpose other than shallow teenage thoughts was a real eye opener. Finding small charities to contact over Twitter and exposing them to funding opportunities truly demonstrated the power of social media in business.

By Day 3, I had adapted to the working office so I could get on with my next assignment. I was tasked with writing job profile statements, while still absorbing more expertise of the trade. Everyone was easy to approach if I needed help or something to do.

My favourite day of the week was Day 4. Writing a press release to be released in a magazine was an invaluable task and something I was hoping I would be given the chance to do. Excitingly, I also had the chance to write a small news post for the Harris website about a film made by one of their employees – Brett. These assignments were beneficial as they are used in many aspects of marketing and not just in construction PR.

Day 5 – my final day. After a week of work I was exhausted and ready to go home. Although it was satisfying to know I could finally have a lie in, it was sad to think five days of generosity and kindness from the office shouldn’t go unnoticed. With a selection of deliciously hand-made cupcakes to finish the week and say thank you I was ready to say goodbye to working life for now.

“Well my work experience was in Sainsbury’s” was what one Harris staff member said to me on my opening day. Realising my good fortune in securing a placement here, I embraced all opportunities and tasks I was given. Without a doubt I have had a successful and rewarding week that has inspired me greatly and provided an experience I plan to take into my future, no matter what world of work I go into.

To all at Harris Associates thanks for putting up with me, it was a pleasure to work with you.


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