A Returning Work Experience Success Story

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A Returning Work Experience Success Story

David Bone

We love the work experience process. It’s always fun meeting brilliant young minds and sharing a short period of time together. We always encourage them to keep in touch and to explore ways in which we can continue to support them. Along with the Xoomworks Academy schemes we run and our involvement with the Cluj Familia Association we also hope that these projects will find someone returning to work with us in the future.

So it has been a delight these past two weeks that we have had a returning Work Experience star – Caitlan Denham.

Here are Caitlan’s feelings on life ‘second time around’ at Xoomworks:

The memories of the one-day work experience I had the previous year came flooding back to me the moment I stepped onto the platform at Farringdon station.  I had been to Xoomworks before, and I have to say that it was a fantastic experience despite the fact that I was only there for a day!  This year I was here at Xoomworks for two whole weeks, and I had very high expectations.

have to be honest – although I was impressed with the first time I had come along to Xoomworks, I was slightly worried that I was going to be the tea lady for the next two weeks.  All of my doubts had completely vanished when Jamie took Harry, my work experience companion, and myself into Scafell, and asked us what we would like to get out of our work experience, and what we absolutely, positively, definitely did not want to do!  Of course, we both replied, “As long as we’re not making tea the whole time we are here, we will be happy.”

The lovely office manager, Shirley, then gave us an induction followed by my dad, Martin, giving us a quick briefing of what the company does and its involvement with other companies like Coupa.

I was put on the line with Co-Founder & Group COO, Steve Jackson, who told me about his keen interest in opening a delivery centre in Serbia.  It was my job over the next week or so, to put together a presentation that discussed the pros and cons of undergoing this project.  I had to investigate areas such as costs, availability of staff, travel, and any other areas that might significantly affect Xoomworks’ ability to setup and run a profitable operation in the country.

Not only did I find it very interesting to do research on a country I knew very little about, which I felt fairly shameful for considering I take GCSE Geography, but I also found great pleasure in working on something that will eventually help the company.

In my opinion I am quite a shy person, so as you can imagine, performing a presentation in front of the Co-Founder of Xoomworks didn’t sound like the most enjoyable thing to be doing!  It was very convenient that the next morning Jamie had contributed some time for Harry and I to talk about Presentation Skills, in which I practiced at home which made me feel a bit more confident in myself.

I was actually very surprised at how well my presentation went when I performed it for Steve on the following week.  I have to hand it to Steve for being such a great, understanding guy.  I feel like he could tell I didn’t want to do a big, fancy presentation on my findings, so we sat around a table discussing my research instead.

During my placement, I also had the opportunity to attend a meeting with one of Xoomworks’ clients, DS Smith, and to listen to a call with a potential customer, where Kelly and Anna introduced Coupa to them.  They were very interesting experiences in which I learned a bit more about how meetings are run.

I also experienced one of David’s ‘TED Fridays’, where myself and a few others went out for lunch on Leather Lane, then came back to the office to sit down and watch a speech, picked by Harry.  ‘The power of vulnerability’ by Brené Brown was certainly an eye-opening experience in itself, where she gave a deep insight to the effects of human connection – our ability to empathize, belong, and love.

In the beginning of the second week of my work experience was a bit daunting, as my dad was away in Amsterdam, which meant I had to get the train to work by myself…I only got lost twice.  I also didn’t have my fellow work experience buddy around, so I was worried about feeling lonely.  I was proved wrong when Jamie told me that Callum, another work ‘experiencee’ would be joining me for the week.  It was great to get to know him over lunch.

Xoomworks is a place where you can walk through the door and feel right at home.  I don’t think there is a word that can describe how friendly and welcoming everybody is.  People who I had just met, I felt like I had known them for years.  I already knew Jamie and David from the last time I was at Xoomworks, and when I arrived in the office it felt like they were greeting me as an old friend.

However there were many people in the office that I hadn’t met on my one-day work experience, yet they were still so approachable, and I will miss my daily fist-bump with Neil when my experience is over.

I.T. Consultancy is not the industry I am considering ‘career-wise’ after I have left school, but Xoomworks is a great place to get to grips with what the working world is like, if other companies are just as fantastic as this one.  It is a place that exudes enthusiasm, and welcomes new ideas.  If you’re stuck for work experience placement ideas, Xoomworks is the place to go.

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