I’m Will, one of the work experience co-ordinators here at Fluid. My goal is to inspire the next generation of creatives and strategists – whether that’s brand experts, CGI artists, website developers or social strategists by giving them a taste of life in our Darley Abbey studio.
I’m going to explain to you how our work experience process works and why it’s a little different to most other places, with the aim of the student getting the absolute most out of their week with us, not just making cups of tea and twiddling their thumbs.
Our work experience process usually starts six months or so before the placement begins. As we’re quite well-known in the area for offering the younger generation work experience opportunities, naturally we get a lot of requests. While we can’t accommodate everyone, we do our best to offer our time and expertise to as many as we can.
Once the students have been offered a placement, we ask them to do a bit of research on our website and choose which one of our six teams they’re most interested in, as each of our teams specialise in different skills and processes. This allows us to tailor their week of work around their interests, meaning they leave with valuable skills and a good idea of what their potential future might look like.
Some will start work experience with a team and soon realise that their chosen team wasn’t right for them. But that’s okay, as we can quickly alter their week to ensure they’re getting the most out of it.
Once the logistics of their week is figured out, the real fun can start. Each of our work experience students has a mentor from the team they'll be working with. When they first walk in on Monday, myself, Liv (our other work experience co-ordinator) and their mentor will greet them and settle them in. They’ll then get a quick tour of the studio and then we’ll all sit in a pod and go through their week and the brief we want them to work on.
We’re a brand-first agency, and we thrive on our client partnerships and all of the work we do contains a huge element of pride. We have a mantra – Never Not Proud – that we all live by. Before we lay the brief out, we explain this to our work experience students so they can get a feel of our culture and how we approach every client brief. We hope they can demonstrate this in their work, and they walk away with a project that they’re genuinely proud of. This is something very important to us.
Jess, a recent work experience student who has just completed her A-levels, said: ‘During my work experience I was given a range of briefs which meant that I was able to practise using different software and learn new skills. The entire team at Fluid made me feel comfortable and welcome whilst I was there’.
We have a number of briefs we can give to the student depending on their area of interest, and which team they’re working with for the week. Some of them are real-world briefs which Fluid has worked on previously, and some are created by Liv or myself. Each brief has an end goal, which is for the student to present the outcome of their project at the end of the placement.
Everyone at Fluid has a different skill set and range of talents, it’s what makes our team at the mill so strong and unique. This is no different with the work experience folk - they all have unique abilities and strengths, and this is something we take into account to make sure their week is as fulfilling as possible.
After becoming accustomed with the team they’re working with and the work they produce, we introduce them to the different software they’ll be using and give them chance to have a play around. If working with the Design and Artwork team, they may get shown around programmes such as Adobe InDesign or Illustrator. If it's Search and Social, software such as Photoshop and Ahrefs. Or for Image and Motion, it could be 3DS Max or Premiere Pro.
It all depends on what the brief involves and also what the student wants to get from the week. Some may be more interested in specific elements, whereas some may want experience in a bit of everything. This can go for the teams, too. If an individual wants a taste of numerous teams, we can tailor their week and brief around that.
Siena, a work experience student we had in for a week said: 'Not only was the practical course of the week great, I really enjoyed talking and working with the people in Fluid. Everyone is so friendly and the office environment is so nice, I even made some dog friends! Fluid has given me an experience in graphic design and now I’m certain I would like to do it in the future'.
Presenting can be scary – some are naturals, some not so much. Personally, I’m terrible at it. It’s not one of my strong points.
Towards the end of the week, usually Friday afternoon, we ask work experience students to present their work to a small group of Fluiders (usually 5-6). This gives them an opportunity to demonstrate the skills they’ve learnt with some fantastic work pieces and also polish their presentation skills. It’s very rewarding seeing the students grow with confidence over the week and then proudly present their work. It’s usually the best part of my week.
Although we’ll never force anyone to present, we encourage it as we guarantee you’ll feel better for it and feel like you’ve really achieved something special within your week at Fluid.
Lewis, a 15 year old work experience student said: 'Confidence with presenting has always been an issue I’ve had. But now I’ve done it in a real world environment and not just in front of my school friends, I feel much more confident. I have learnt so much from my week with you and it’s really helped me decide what I want to do after my GCSEs. I always had my heart set on games design but after my week with Fluid I’m thinking more of a creative media course.'
Siena also said: 'At the end of the week, I presented my finished piece of work to 12 people. I was a bit nervous at first but really enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone.'
Why work experience means a lot to Fluid
As you can see, we put a lot of time and effort into ensuring our work experience weeks offer value and skills, that the students may transfer into the working world.
I remember having work experience when I was 15 years old. I’m sure it’s a similar theme for many that they felt as though they didn’t really get much out of the process, and that their week was a little wasted. Our goal at Fluid is to prevent this happening for our work experience students. We want them to feel proud of the work they’ve done and actually come away having gained genuine experience in a real-world full-service agency.
Liv, our other work experience co-ordinator, says this: ‘I started off my career at Fluid through a work experience placement so I find it very rewarding to help other students who are aspiring to make it in a similar field. It’s great to see many more students thrive at Fluid and exciting to see them presenting their work to our team!’
We love hosting work experience students at Fluid because it means we can have a real impact on their future, whether it be allowing their skills to blossom over the week or giving them the confidence and self-belief that they can make it in our sector, and eventually work on super exciting branding campaigns or CGI projects or whatever their ambition is – the sky's the limit!
For work experience queries or requests, email [email protected]