It has been more than six months since I first joined the CORE Network. I joined in late October through a Foundation Apprenticeship in Business Skills for a work placement in my last year of high school. I was undertaking three Higher qualifications at school as well as the Foundation Apprenticeship. The Foundation Apprenticeship meant that I spent two days of the school week away from my high school: one day at college (Tuesdays) and one day at my work placement (Thursdays). My placement at the University of Strathclyde ensured that I was using my skills learned at college during my time in a new work environment, and made me capable of working with experienced business people.
My supervisors Claire and David ensured I did as much as possible to complete my placement successfully, and provided me with the right amount of evidence I needed to pass my Apprenticeship. They gave me weekly tasks to complete for the Network, such as transcribing ESR interview videos; updating the CORE social media channels with new ESR dissemination activities, compiling the monthly CORE e-Bulletin; adding new publications to the CORE website; and even contributing to the creation of two new videos. Claire and David taught me how to transfer the skills I had learned in school and college to real-life situations, and how to communicate professionally and respectfully with colleagues. My introduction to the Network team at Strathclyde was very friendly and welcoming, and every e-mail I received from members of the Network across Europe was very kind, which I really appreciated.
Each week was different from the others. There were weeks when I could not go to Strathclyde due to industrial action, weeks when I was late due to traffic or roadworks, and even one week when my laptop went missing! It was definitely eventful working in the Network, and I learned a lot from my six months there. I improved my adaptiveness by learning to work at home as well as in an office, I learned how to handle difficult colleagues, and most important of all, I learned that it’s okay to ask for help sometimes.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, I was unable to finish my work placement properly and had to resort to submitting work from home – which is easier said than done! I had hoped to finish my placement at Strathclyde by the start of exam season (late April), and celebrate with my classmates from college, but unfortunately this hasn’t happened. I instead had to upload my work online, with the help of Claire and David via e-mail, and meet all the criteria to pass my placement. Hopefully, due to these unprecedented times, the marker will allow a little bit of leeway in my submitted work!
I want to thank Claire and David for all the things they have taught me and for the help they’ve given me in the short time I’ve spent with them, and wish them well in the future. I hope to start my degree in Mathematics at the University of Strathclyde in September (if I get the right grades!), so hopefully I will see them again soon.
Grace Wong is a student at Ross Hall Academy in Glasgow, Scotland. She recently completed her final year at high school, and hopes to attend the University of Strathclyde to study Mathematics, beginning in September 2020.