We recognise the benefits that practical experience brings to students’ learning. It also brings great benefit to us as a young company. Last year, we took part in the Santander Universities SME Internship Programme, and our intern Amy is now a key member of our core staff.
Having heard about an administrative management Erasmus scheme through our colleagues at Codebase, this year we’ve welcomed Sara Dolan, a student from Spain, who is a third of the way into her three-month placement with us.
We invited Sara to share the learning from her experience so far:
“Early in April I arrived in Edinburgh from my home town of Alcalá de Henares near Madrid in Spain and started work alongside Sarah Morton, Ailsa Cook, Amy Grant, Charlie Mills and Sarah Scott in the Matter of Focus office. They’ve all been very welcoming and very helpful by trying to make my time here in Edinburgh as valuable an experience as possible.
Learning new skills
So far, this experience is very rewarding. I have been able to help with a variety of different activities in the office, including setting-up inventories of supplies, researching potential new CRM systems, using the Microsoft Office apps, writing up meeting notes, greeting clients and serving them coffee and tea, working in a group, answering the phone and emails in a polite manner, and using software and tools such as SharePoint, Xero, Trello and OutNav, the software of Matter of Focus, all of which is new to me.
I am also learning about time management and the prioritisation of tasks, which is also very important. Despite learning about this in class, it is very valuable to experience it in the real world – I am getting to practise the skills I’ve learned about.
It’s nice to know that I’m bringing benefit to the team at Matter of Focus as well since, in return for their support, they’re getting an extra person to help them out in the office and get some of their workload off their desks.
The value of practical experience
My work experience here in Edinburgh will greatly help me when it comes to looking for a job since I’ll have first-hand experience and will have valuable skills and knowledge of a range of software and office systems to offer. And it won’t come as much of a shock when I start to work!
Taking myself out of my comfort zone
But the benefits of this Erasmus experience extend beyond the office too. This is the first time I have lived by myself. And I’m doing it in another country that speaks a different language.
I’m pushing myself to do something I’ve never done before; taking myself out of my comfort zone and experiencing the world in a different way.
I think that these three months will help me understand the world of work better and will help me have the necessary tools to live and work comfortably and confidently.”
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