Annabel shares all about how different work experiences can help you find your perfect job and give you new life skills along the way.
Hi Annabel, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m 22 years old and I’m from Pontefract in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. I work in a local hospital and really enjoy what I do! I’m a Housekeeper, and I work on the Discharge Ward.
How did you find your job?
I was part of a scheme called Project Search. Once I’d finished college I went there. They help you get work experience to see what kind of jobs you might be good at and might enjoy. I got to try housekeeping and really loved it, so knew it was something I’d want to do.
Did you try other work experience, as well?
Yes, I was also a shop assistant for the British Heart Foundation, and I worked in admin for a local charity, Hopeful Families.
I also have some experience on Prince’s Trust, too. Prince’s Trust was great because it brought me more life skills that I could integrate into work.
What kind of skills did Prince’s Trust bring?
I’d say resilience, mainly. With Project Search I gained the work skills, but Prince’s Trust gave me a lot of resilience. There were lots of things I didn’t like, but I thought I need to stick through it, and kept going.
I was in a gardening project, and I’m definitely not a keen gardener! I always like to be really, really clean. So this role with Prince’s Trust meant I had to get dirty, and find ways to not let that bother me. At the time it wasn’t always fun, but now in my job I’m able to not let dirt stress me out as much.
I have learned that I can’t always be really clean and it’s ok to get your hands dirty sometimes. Resilience has also really helped me stay positive and not let things get me down.
Tell us more about Project Search
I really do recommend it to anyone who has a disability. It gave me so much confidence, and so many skills that I use in my job.
I joined after I’d finished college, but in some ways I wish I’d gone straight from school. I had so many laughs with my friends, and we all just got along. And my tutors were really nice, they helped me with interview practice and preparation.
What was a typical day like?
So in the morning you’d have a little lesson time and then from 10am – 3pm it’d be work experience. You’d then go back to class for a quick lesson before heading home.
There were loads of different jobs to choose from, such as housekeeping, admin, childcare, porter and others. You would do a role for 3 months, and then you could either stick with it or try a different one.
It was a great way to move into a job. I was 18 when I started, but it’s for 16-25 year olds.
“Don’t give up, don’t be discouraged – if you don’t get the job, be patient”
Are you still involved with Project Search?
Yes, I now advocate for Project Search, which I enjoy.
I’ve spoken to the new interns recently about my time on Project Search, what to expect and how it helped me. And I showed them where I worked and told them about what tasks I do as a housekeeper, so they’ll understand a bit more about the daily tasks.
And the advice that I always give people is don’t give up, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the job, be patient.
You can read all about Annabel’s hospital day job here.
Annabel’s Top 5 Work Experience Tips
- Even if you know what you want to do, it’s really good to try as many work experiences as you can. You’ll learn new things and meet new people.
- Don’t be afraid to try something that’s out of your comfort zone.
- Be resilient. Keep going and you’ll learn so many new skills that might help you in the next job.
- You’ll probably hear No more than Yes, but don’t let that worry you. The perfect job is out there if you keep trying.
- And enjoy learning new things in each role! Every job is an opportunity for new skills and new friendships.