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Behind the Scenes: Work Experience at iSci

Every year at iSci, we take on 1 or 2 work experience students to give them an insight into the start-up world! Here, Rosa tells us what her week at iSci has been like. We encourage other companies to also look at taking in work experience students – it’s a valuable and rewarding experience for us as a company as well as showing aspiring students what is possible!

What attracted you to ISci?
When my school presented the idea of work experience to me, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. As someone who didn’t have any clear idea of what career I would like to pursue, the idea of picking a place for my WEX was very intimidating.  It wasn’t until my mum introduced me to Interactive Scientific that I had any idea about my week. I started to research the company and a few things really intrigued me:

As a female interested in science, I thought that it would be very appropriate and inspiring to get an insight into a science-based female-run company and to talk to the women (and men) who are achieving in this field. I also wanted to see if it would be something that I would like to go into in the future. I feel that in start-up businesses (like iSci), the employees could feel more valued as individuals and that it would be a warm and friendly environment I could fit into. Especially as this is my first taste of work I wanted to be in a very positive and caring atmosphere. Also, as someone who regularly gets frustrated with the textbook centred way that science is taught, I wanted to support and be involved with a company that is trying to change that.

How was meeting the team?
On my first day, I was nervous about finding my place in the team as I had never been in an environment like this before. The company is based in the Engine Shed where there is always lots going on so I was worried about knowing where to go.  However, as soon as I walked in, I felt extremely welcome. I had one-on-one conversations with everyone in the team on my first morning which gave me a good understanding about what the company was about, the different roles within the group, and also made me feel very comfortable and at ease with what was going to happen throughout the week. Everybody was incredibly kind and polite and helped me feel included. I very quickly found my way around as well.

What did you do?
During the week, I have done a range of activities. I have researched competitor companies and weighed up the pros and cons of each, matched up parts of their app to all the different layers of the school curriculum and written blogs. I also attended a staff training presentation on GDPR (which was followed by a quite competitive pub quiz) as well as having interesting and insightful conversations with the team which has helped me a lot. Other than work activities, I also went to the company picnic lunch which was followed by ice lollies. During my week, I’ve also become very well acquainted with Tesco meal deals!

Why has it been valuable?
This week of work experience has given me a good insight into what work after school could be like and the positives and negatives of working in a start-up business. This week has really taught me the importance of teamwork because I’ve seen first-hand how having clear communication between colleagues can make work more productive, enjoyable and faster. In school, we are made to believe that we need to achieve in every subject to be successful which puts a lot of pressure on students. However, during my WEX, I realised that at work it’s more about playing to your strength and doing jobs that are suitable to your skill set which makes my future after school seem a lot less daunting. I also learnt about what sort of working environment works best for me and has given me an idea of what I would like to do later in my life.”