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At the end of October 2016 the team at the Foyer Federation were glad to welcome Jessica Andrews for a two-week work experience placement. This is what Jess had to say about her experience:

I recently completed a two-week work experience placement with the Foyer Federation. I had just moved to London from Australia, and contacted staff at the Foyer Federation about volunteering for them while applying for jobs in the not-for-profit sector. As Work Experience Week was approaching, they kindly offered me a work experience placement.

The Foyer Federation staff were extremely welcoming, and proved to be a workplace that practices what it preaches, as they listened to and valued my contributions, and enabled me to get a better understanding of a national charity in the UK.

While completing my placement I was invited along to the office away day, where we completed some group activities on Advantaged Thinking and watched an inspirational TedTalk on how leaders and organisations inspire action. I found this to be really applicable in my own life, as it made me think about how I can incorporate this into my own job applications.

Having worked with young people in my previous job, I found Advantaged Thinking to be a refreshing approach to seeing all young people, particularly those who have experienced challenges such as homelessness. So often, young people are spoken about in a negative light, and don’t have the opportunity to challenge these stereotypes by telling their own stories. I particularly agree with the underpinning of the philosophy, in that everyone has a talent, and through opportunities and support these talents can be harnessed to contribute to society.

Following the away day, I began my work experience project, which was to conduct interviews with young people who had been involved in the SITA Trust project and write a case study. This was a great example of seeing Advantaged Thinking in action, and the results that are possible when young people are invested in. It is clear that this project was underpinned by an “asset-based” or strengths-based approach, where young people are seen for their talents and potential, as each group of young people were able to be creative and show leadership. The young people were really proud of their achievements, and also appreciative of being given the opportunity to talk about their experiences and what they had learnt through the interview process. It was wonderful to hear not only about what skills the young people developed, but also how proud they all were of being able to contribute to their community, and see others enjoying the projects that they had invested so much time and energy into. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Foyer Federation, and really appreciate their staff members for welcoming me into the organisation and providing me with such a valuable learning opportunity. This experience has inspired me to commit to my dream of working for a not-for-profit and I hope to work with the Foyer Federation again sometime in the future!

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