Why work experience matters! An interview with Business Student Chris Wilding

Chris Wilding who is currently studying a BSc Hons degree in Business Economics at Swansea University completed a GO Wales Work Taster at Business Sense, Swansea last year.

What activities did you undertake during your GO Wales Work Taster?

Working at Business Sense provided me with a lot of opportunities given the diverse amount of services and products they offer.  Being an economics student with a focus on accounting I wanted to work with the day-to-day operations that a small accounting firm would typically offer so that I gained the skills that a typical internship role would offer.

Day-to-day, I would typically help audit small and local businesses, this would mean totalling revenue and expenses, reconciling bank statements and working with current tax law alongside HRMC to help businesses minimise their tax liability.

Was the work taster a positive experience for you? 

Overall, the experience was positive, not only were the tasks allocated to me relevant and appropriate in helping me learn more about the real life completion of accounts.  All the staff were very friendly, the owners would regularly speak to me throughout the day and ask me specifically if there was anything I wanted to know or learn about.  If there were any tasks I didn’t enjoy so much I would ask to try something different and it was never a problem.

I worked closely with the staff in the office who would often help me should I have needed it, they were always approachable, friendly and very supportive.  I learnt a lot about the day-to-day running of accounts through being able to speak to the staff whereas this may not have been the case in a larger, more corporate position.

Has it helped you to make a decision about your future career?

Personally for me, it certainly has not changed my mind about becoming an accountant.  Having been allowed the privilege to work in so many different areas of accounting during my taster, there are areas which I did enjoy more than others.  I have decided that I enjoyed working within Tax minimisation and HMRC rather than management accounts with sage software.

How important is it for students to take on  work experience alongside their studies?

In an increasingly tougher job market, employers are looking more and more for individuals who stand out and have gone beyond their academic achievements, although it does sound very cliché and you may hear it a lot from graduate recruiters, it is critical that you show that by having relevant work experience you have learnt and applied the skills and core competencies that are needed in the potential role you are applying for.

Would you recommend the GO Wales programme to other students and graduates that you know? 

From my own experience I would recommend the GO Wales programme to other students and friends of mine.  Graduate recruiters are looking for students who have had previous work experience, but at the same time it can be hard for students to obtain work experience if they have not have not worked before.

The staff who I dealt with within the GO Wales organisation, namely Jade Goodwin, were efficient, very helpful and kept in regular contact with me during the taster. From the moment I joined GO Wales I was allocated my work experience very quickly and learnt more than I expected over the summer of 2010.