ScotEng Blog – My work experience

Cara Short

School Pupil

5 minute read

Over the last week I have been an observing student at Scottish Engineering as my work experience. Not only has working in the office been a new opportunity, flying up here by myself from Dorset and wandering around a city like Glasgow is very new to me. Whilst scary, I was always excited for this trip.

I came up here because Lindsey Miller, who is part of the legal team, is my aunt and I have always had an interest in law so this was a chance I couldn’t give up on. Over the week I have been shadowing calls, reading through important cases and sitting in meetings with members of the team. All of this has given me first-hand experience on the real world of work. No day has been the same, meeting with new people some from Scottish Engineering and some from other member companies has helped me grow confidence in speaking to new people, which was one of my goals when coming here. I learnt new technical skills as well, using teams for the first time and using my email more times this week than I have in my life. It makes me realise how technology is so important and useful in the workplace; it makes things easier than using a pen and paper to write in school.

Whilst it was quiet on Monday, I still got the opportunity to read through some case files that the legal team were working on, they were all interesting and it was fascinating to see what they deal with everyday when new cases come in. None of them were the same, all relating to different problems that people face day to day in the workplace. I found out stuff that I didn’t know, like the amount of detail solicitors have go into even for a simple claim; that – unlike criminal cases – not every claimant is prescribed a lawyer; that a claim needs to go through many different stages before reaching a tribunal and that many claims are even settled without even getting to a court.

On Wednesday I got the chance to go to a meeting with Paul Sheerin to a company with a proposal to speak to Scottish Engineering’s members. It was definitely an experience being offered tea by a receptionist and seeing how intently both sides listen to each other, nothing like school where half the class has dozed off within five minutes. Seeing how people can be so captivated by just a few words shows me how much people can come to care about their job and career. Also, going to new buildings and a real meeting room with a head of the table and a TV for presentations at the end was something that I only thought existed in movies, not in real life.

There are many different jobs at Scottish Engineering from solicitors to marketing, IT to organising the range of jobs here was something that I did not expect, especially from a relatively small office. Most days I got to speak to employees about what the do and why they do it, so I got a taste for jobs outside of the legal sector. I did not realise how many different people and jobs it takes for a company to run smoothly.

Also, over the week I have been asked by Aime to research AI, a new upcoming factor in the workplace that I had little knowledge on any further than the AI on snapchat. Playing around with chatGPT and searching for information from google and various other articles elevated my understanding on something that I didn’t realise could be something so interesting. I did other bits of research as well as for the monthly Herald article about Scottish engineering for Paul. I did research on important statistics and facts linking to International Women’s Engineering Day on the 23rd of June, finding that women only make up 16.5% of engineers is a stat I wish was higher but it did show me why we need awareness I the form of INWED and the women in engineering event hosted by Scottish Engineering next week.

Even seemingly boring tasks like copying slides made me feel included in the office and helpful to the team. In the middle of the week, I was asked to fill out some slides that would later be sent to member companies summarising what Scottish Engineering has done for them and just like this blog I felt quite proud that my work will be useful and read by people I don’t even know.

Lindsey earlier this week asked me to look through the absence policy and slides for training to see what my thoughts were on the matter then what would I do about it if I was a boss. It gave me something to think about, I did not realise how big of a problem absences are in the workplace, I assumed it stopped being a problem after school, I was wrong. I had so many questions which were later answered by Lindsey when I attended a training in attendance at a member company where Lindsey presented the slides to eager learners and they had the same questions I had. How can we tackle this? It made me come to understand that age and experience does not determine confusion around the same topic.

The executive meeting was by far the most intimidating and fascinating event that I have done this week. Being in a room with around twenty people who are all successful in their respective companies was scary to say the least, seeing all the statistics and information presented on the screen at the head of the table made me realise the officialness of the company and the impact it has on member organisations. Sitting among these people on a table big enough to host a banquet was a situation I never thought I would be in let alone at the age of fifteen. Shaking hands with the president of Scottish Engineering – Bernadette O’Neil – made me realise how far engineering can take you, even as a woman in a job which is stereotypically filled by men. It was inspirational seeing so many women sitting at the table, especially for me who has always had an interest in science and maths. This meeting also made me realise the sheer amount of pressure there is to keep a business running, even more so for one linked to so many other companies like Scottish Engineering.

Overall, the entire week, has been a new and exciting experience both in and out of the workplace. For the first time I felt independent and the idea that I could take care of myself. It really showed me that the future of working with people not my age and living in a big city is not as scary as you might think. People were extremely welcoming in the entire company and made the whole week easier and kinder. The week has improved my skills from communication to technology which will be essential to my future. This was a week I will not forget, thank you Scottish Engineering.