This post was written by Connor Strange, Representative for Wales on UK Youth Voice. Connor is 23 years old from rural Wales, he is part of UK Youth’s personal development and leadership programme UK Youth Voice. Connor chose to take part in UK Youth Voice to help him gain new skills, meet new people and access opportunities to help him gain employment. Here is his blog about his recent experience of spending two days with our corporate partner Oliver Bonas.
You can read more blogs from UK Youth Voice by clicking here and follow them on twitter @UKYV.
Recently I was given a unique opportunity to shadow the amazing PR & Marketing team at Oliver Bonas alongside 3 other members of UK Youth Voice.
I signed up to this opportunity as it sounded really interesting and I wanted to know more about what press & marketing teams do. The journey to Central London from my home town of Ammanford in rural Wales was a long but exciting journey. Finding my way around London Paddington was probably the most amusing part of my journey, trying to figure out which tube station I needed to get on was baffling, but I managed it! At least I know how to travel on the underground a bit better now.
Arriving at the Oliver Bonas office, I was taken aback at the colourful and vibrant atmosphere. There were origami birds hanging from the ceiling and it had a relaxed atmosphere which I really enjoyed.
There, we met some of the staff from Oliver Bonas’ PR & Marketing team, it was an interesting insight into the company. We learnt more about their job roles and what they do within Oliver Bonas, and it got me thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. Learning about what they do at work made me consider if I might enjoy a career in media, or even film or television. They gave me a lot of advice and useful knowledge, and even tips on where I could go to find my break in the industry I wanted to work in.
The main highlight of my first day in the big bustling city of London had to be the ‘In Conversation with’ event that was held in Oliver Bonas’ Tottenham Court Road store with activist Gina Martin. Gina is a campaigner who worked to make upskirting illegal, and succeeded with the bill being passed through Parliament recently.
It was an interesting and inspiring event, and it was good to learn about just how much work goes into planning and executing events like this one. As part of our shadowing opportunity we supported the Oliver Bonas staff by making up goody bags for the customers of Oliver Bonas who were attending the event. At the event I even got the opportunity to take over the UK Youth Voice Twitter feed on the night, expressing my views on the themes being explored throughout the night and getting a real taste of what I might do as part of a PR & Marketing or Events team.
The next day we went back to the Oliver Bonas office to meet with staff from their Learning & Development Team to input into and help shape the training materials. These materials will be used for skills workshops they want to offer to young people through the UK Youth network. It was interesting to learn what training they offer to their employees but also how they can expand and utilise those opportunities to help upskill young people. It felt good to be able to be a part of an exciting process and give my opinions and views to the Learning and Development staff.
All in all, the whole experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I learnt a lot from the experience and gained new skills. I also met new people and gained contacts through networking. I am very much looking forward to taking on more opportunities with UK Youth Voice. But for now, Connor out!
Oliver Bonas will be supporting UK Youth until 2020 raising funds and awareness of our work as well as providing a range of opportunities for young people to develop their skills. You can view and purchase the selection of Oliver Bonas UK Youth products here.