By Barkha Kaur, Mahima Jora and Jasraaj Thakker
Before the summer holidays we partnered up with The Heathland School in Hounslow to offer 3 sixth form students an opportunity to gain work experience during their Opportunities Week alongside Heston West Big Local. These students worked with Year 5 and 6 pupils at Berkeley Academy during their Wider Curriculum Days in July 2019. Please read below about their experiences with the Big Local. We thank them all for their amazing contribution, dedication and great attitude during their placement with us and look forward to welcoming back the students in the near future. We would also like to thank The Heathland School Headteacher Mr Pattar and Career Coach Mr Couch for their brilliant support connecting us with the school.
During May half-term I took part in Heston West Big Local’s Cyberbullying Workshop to gain an insight towards community volunteering. I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop because it was informative and engaging. This encouraged me to sign up to do work experience for the Big Local during The Heathland School’s Opportunities Week. My work experience role was to help develop and deliver a series of Enterprise and Debating workshops aimed at primary school pupils (Yrs 5 and 6).
"This work experience opportunity has provided me with a vast number of transferable skills, such as: leadership, communication and teamwork."
During the workshops, the children were extremely enthusiastic and articulate. Furthermore during our discussions and presentations the children came up with innovative ideas to help tackle environmental issues, such as designing a Drone Detector to help reduce littering. We faced a few challenges along the way, such as trying to keep children energized after lunch. However we successfully managed to overcome this by proposing a new icebreaker activities (2 truths 1 lie and the sun shines on...) which enabled us to keep the children engaged and excited.
This work experience opportunity has provided me with a vast number of transferable skills, such as: leadership, communication and teamwork. These skills will prove to be invaluable for my future career prospect, I hope one day to become a pilot. In addition, working with children and leading on sessions has taught me how to remain calm and patient in stressful situations.
My overall experience was amazing and I would like to continue my journey with Heston West Big Local.
My journey with Heston West Big Local started back in May when I attended a Cyberbullying Workshop. The workshop was very enjoyable and enhanced my knowledge on the issue whilst giving me an insight into the work of Heston West Big Local. I was welcomed into a fun, loving environment and decided to carry on with the journey during The Heathland School’s Opportunities Week.
I volunteered with Heston West Big Local and was provided with the opportunity to help organise two workshops for years 5-6, divided into a few sessions. The two workshops we worked on were Dragon’s Den Enterprise and Debating. On my first day at Berkeley Academy, I was left astounded by the amazing ideas the children came up with, with the winning team, “Intellectual Integrity”, proposing the idea of a healthy snack bar and presented their idea very articulately. Later during the afternoon we struggled with low energy levels as a result of post-lunch. We tackled the situation very cleverly using a quick activity of “the sun shines on…” which boosted the energy levels of the children and added more enthusiasm during the debating session.
"During my journey, I learnt the phenomenon of “mirroring enthusiasm” as the children mirrored our enthusiasm as they looked up to us."
Day two, was just as incredible! Ideas such as a drone inclusive of artificial intelligence to track litter was introduced to tackle environmental issues. The session allowed me to improve on my skills including leadership, teamwork and communication. During my journey, I learnt the phenomenon of “mirroring enthusiasm” as the children mirrored our enthusiasm as they looked up to us. I aspire to step into clinical psychology in the future, therefore, this experience has helped me develop many transferable skills which can be very convenient later in the future. Communication skills, for example, is an essential skills required in clinical psychology as I would have to deal with people of all different backgrounds.
Overall, the experience was an amazing opportunity for me to help the community and develop my skills and a week I thoroughly enjoyed.
During The Heathland School opportunities week, I had chosen to volunteer for Heston West Big Local. I was given the idea that I will be able to gain many new skills and overall will be a new and amazing experience which will help me in the future. Therefore, I went in open minded and was ready to develop as many skills as possible and get the most out of the week. To begin with, my experience with Heston West Big Local was amazing, filled with different experiences which helped me gain many different skills. On my first day, as soon as I got into Cranford Community College, I was welcomed by Taz and was given an overview of how the next few days were going to be like. He explained what we were going to do, which was creating two workshops for primary school children in year 5s and year 6s.
The two workshops we had decided to plan were a Dragons Den style activity and a debates session. We planned these activities to take place at Berkeley Academy and from this experience I had learnt and developed many skills. One of which was extremely important and I think will help me in the future in both my personal life and work life. The most important skill I learnt whilst working with children was patience. Patience will help me in my personal life when talking to others or even when trying to sort something out, this will help me ensure that things get done even if I have to come up with different ways to do it or if it takes long. Another skill which I had developed during my experience of volunteering for Heston West Big Local was how to deal with unexpected situations which may come up. An example of where I had developed this skill was when we had planned our activities for about six people and on the day we discovered that we had about twelve people taking part and we also had quite a small room. This meant that we had sort out our tables and chairs in a way to fit this number of people and ensure that it wasn’t too cramped.
"The most important skill I learnt whilst working with children was patience."
This was an important skill to develop as it would help me in both my personal and work life. This could help me in my personal life to stay calm when being faced with unexpected situations as it would help solve the problem more efficiently and it could also help me stay calm in such situations at work when dealing with certain situations in the future. During this experience I had also developed many other skills such as; planning, organisation, teamwork and communication which I could use in the future. Overall, I thought that my volunteering experience with Heston West Big Local was brilliant and beneficial and I would consider still volunteering here again.