School work experience at HBPO – exciting and informative

What makes work experience worthwhile? And what do pupils actually do during these periods of work experience? Our work experience pupil answers these and other questions in our interview.

At most schools, pupils are expected to do one or two periods of work experience between grade 9 and grade 11. The idea is for them to gain first experience of working in a company for a period of three weeks.

But do pupils at that age already have an idea about what kind of job they want to do in later in life? Many certainly do not!

Read here about the experience Silke gained at HBPO and the insight she took back to school with her.

Silke, what made you decide to do your work experience in the Marketing department at HBPO?

I applied to HBPO with the aim of getting to know the Marketing department. Interesting, diversified tasks in the field of market research and social media were on my “wish list”. I realised pretty early on that I would like to use my three-week work experience to gain insight into the different marketing fields. My strengths include organisation, planning and design – and I believe these are important for a job in Marketing.

How did you find the work experience placement?

I have been familiar with HBPO all my life, because my father works there and we moved from Germany to Mexico with the company for a while some years ago. I had already spent a day at HBPO within the context of Girls’ and Boys’ Day, and already knew that not only the building is impressive. I knew lots of people at HBPO before I did my work experience and never felt like a stranger, I felt very at home. Yet another reason for me to want to do my work experience there.

The friendly, casual and informal atmosphere at HBPO was apparent even at the interview at the headquarters in Lippstadt. Soon afterwards, I received the news that I had been accepted for a work experience placement.

What were your tasks during the work experience?

My work experience started at the beginning of October with an introductory meeting and a tour through the company. This was a great chance to get to know the company and its products better and to better understand the processes. Working in the team was pleasant and straightforward right from the beginning, so I quickly got my bearings. Thanks to the overview, it would be easier to fulfil the tasks to come.

I gained valuable insights into day-to-day work and in numerous areas of marketing right from the start.

Website maintenance using Typo3 was explained to me right away. I now know how contents are changed and new contributions are written. In addition, mailing campaigns were prepared, printed and sent. During preparation of texts for an image brochure, I assisted the department and thus experienced the entire process, from the draft right through to the finished product.

I even became the face of an internal campaign and took part in a photo shoot – my personal highlight. During the whole time at HBPO I didn’t have the feeling that I was being given just trivial jobs to do. I felt like a full member of the team and was treated as such, and especially when translations into Spanish were needed, my expert knowledge was valuable.

The jobs assigned to me were explained precisely and patiently, more than once if necessary. I always had the feeling people were willing to take time for my questions, even though I needed to ask a lot at first, because I didn’t have much experience with computer work. Gradually I took over responsibility for different jobs and was able to organise the processing of my tasks myself.

I had varied and different tasks to do right up to the end of my placement. I learnt a lot, on a personal level too. HBPO showed me that it is possible to have fun at work and that a lot of things are easier if you work with a smile on your face.

What were the challenges/hurdles you faced during your work experience placement?

One of the greatest hurdles for me at the beginning was computer work. But once I had got to know Outlook and co. “step by step”, things quickly improved, and I am very proud of that. Another important and challenging day was when my teacher came to visit, because I didn’t know what to expect.

I am really proud of my personal development within this very short time at HBPO. At first I was very shy and nervous, but now I can say that I gained self-confidence and strength: one of the most important aspects of my work experience.

How are things going to continue for you after your work experience? Do you have any concrete plans? Would you like to do an apprenticeship or carry on at school and do your Abitur (A-levels)?

I definitely want to carry on at school and do my Abitur in order to prepare in the best way possible for my later career. I’m not sure yet whether a career in Marketing is my dream job. Luckily, I still have time to decide. I certainly enjoyed it.

What experiences (positive and negative) did you collect during your work experience?

HBPO infected me with positive energy right from the start. Here, everyone works well in a team and treats each other with respect. The most important thing for me personally was the realisation that you are never alone with a task, and that together with the team you can get everything done.

I felt so at home that I couldn’t believe it when the last day came – the time really flew by. My expectations were more than fulfilled.

What was a typical working day like for you as a work experience pupil at HBPO?

I would say there was no such thing as a typical working day. Every day had a different structure, which made the placement so interesting for me. I usually checked my mails first in the morning, then there was a meeting or telephone conference I was allowed to attend. It was never boring.

Would you recommend HBPO for your friends for work experience?

I will definitely tell my friends about my work experience placement and recommend it to them, because I enjoyed it so much.

As my placement comes to an end I am leaving the company with mixed feelings. I was able to collect lots of experience. I learnt a lot and gained a detailed insight into the various marketing areas. Thanks to my placement I can well imagine working in marketing later – although I still have time to think about it.