Work experience is a great way to learn new skills and shape career ideas, as 17-year-old Cameron Slaughter found out during a week spent with Kent County Council’s Strategic Planning and Policy group and Countryside Leisure and Sport group.
I spent last week doing work experience with various people at Kent County Council and I am happy to report that this has was a most informative and enjoyable time.
On Monday, I learned about the work of the Natural Environment & Coast team’s Biodiversity Officers who were very friendly and accommodating, teaching me use of their virtual map, which contains a wealth of information about species and habitats present throughout the country.
On Tuesday, my week took an outdoors turn as I enjoyed a tour of the historic windmills under the care of the council, with the Heritage Conservation team. Seeing these spectacular structures under the guide of one of the few experts in the country was an insightful experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the interior tour of the mill at Cranbrook, with sweeping views of the whole surrounding town from its pinnacle.
On Wednesday I continued with the Heritage Conservation team spending an enjoyable day putting my previously learned skills with the mapping software to use by digitally uploading historic maps and matching them to the modern map of the same area. I also spent a very enjoyable couple of hours with an archaeological finds specialist, identifying various treasures and artefacts handed in to the council and discovering the rich archaeological history of Kent.
I was outdoors for the rest of the week, on Thursday with the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership and their group of enthusiastic biodiversity management volunteers. We conducted a wildlife survey and some grounds maintenance and concluded this with tea and biscuits!
Finally, on Friday I was with the Natural Environment & Coast team again at the stunning Ranscombe Farm near Cuxton, a veritable pearl of wildflowers nestled in the quiet Kentish hills. There was no bustling infrastructure in sight and populations of some of the UK’s most endangered flowers, such as the breath-taking Meadow Clary whose cerulean blossoms definitely provided satisfying conclusion to my amazing week.
For any other young people who are struggling for ideas regarding work experience, I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest approaching Kent County Council, as their multi-faceted nature impressed me and I, for one, can vouch for relevance to many different areas of study. I walked away from my week at Kent County Council with a smile on my face and a menagerie of new skills valuable to me now as well as in my future working life.
If you are inspired by Cameron’s account of his work experience, why not take a look at the range of opportunities KCC can offer young people: