Secondary school students welcomed to Thirteen to help them build their skills and give back to their local community

Students from St Michael's secondary school in Billingham recently got the opportunity to job shadow colleagues from across Thirteen during a busy week of work experience.

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24 May 2024

The group of six were the first to visit Thirteen as part of a wider project, led by our learning and development team, to enhance the work experience opportunities we offer and facilitate placements for 35 young people this summer.

During the week, the students spent time learning about a number of services at Thirteen, including our community resilience, customer experience, environmental sustainability, facilities management, investment and IT.

Elle Taylor, learning and organisational development business partner for Thirteen, said: “Week-long placements are often the first impression that young people get into the world of work, so it’s been a privilege to share this milestone with the students and make their experience at Thirteen a positive and engaging one.

“As one of the largest employers in the North East, we recognise the importance of providing meaningful work experience opportunities that support young people in our communities to build their skills and potential, as well as inspire them to look at their future career goals.

“We’ve developed a new work experience package for students that is varied and gets them involved in practical activities, as well as providing dedicated time for conversations with our subject experts about skills, experience and career advice.

“For Thirteen, delivering these learning experiences supports our social value activities, boosts collaborative working amongst our colleagues and partners and helps us to attract new talent to Thirteen in the future so that we can continue to deliver great services for our customers.”

The work experience opportunities have already received positive feedback from students and staff members after the first group completed their placements.

Sammie Bradley, environmental advisor for Thirteen, said: "I was enormously impressed with Hannah throughout her work experience. She had three very busy days looking at green event planning, environmental education, environmental risk, energy management and vehicle analysis.

“Hannah tackled everything with enthusiasm and interest. On our second day, we did some high-level analysis using Microsoft excel, comparing our new and old fleet emissions, and she was using functions deemed complex by most adults in the workplace.

“She is a very fast learner. If she ever wanted to return, I wouldn't hesitate to have Hannah back again.”

Placements are set to continue with students in Billingham throughout the summer.

Elle said: “It’s been a really rewarding project to be a part of and I’d like to say a big thank you to colleagues who have dedicated their knowledge and time. I’m looking forward to more of the students joining us at Thirteen soon!”