My First Week of Work Experience at Aspire-igen

Hi, my name is Ana Tokos and I’m a politics and criminology student at Loughborough University. I have been lucky enough to get 8 days of work experience at aspire-igen at The Opportunity Centre in Bradford during my Easter break from Uni. For most of the 8 days, I have been working in the international department, and I also spent a day in the marketing team, getting a ‘day-in-the-life’ experience of a marketing and communications co-ordinator. I’ve written a diary documenting my time here, and all of the interesting tasks and projects I’ve been working on.

1st April 2019

On my first day, I met Lauren van Heel and the rest of the aspire-international team and had my induction and a tour of the building, meeting some of the different departments and staff, as well as getting an introduction to the different things that go on within the building – like The Canteen and the Aspire2Work programme. I was shown some of the projects that the international team were working on, and which I would be helping out with as well. One of the tasks I was given was to research and work on the monthly Euroguidance Brexit briefing paper, which, as a politics student, played into my interests really well. I was given the task of helping to maintain the social media for the team, so I’ve been getting to grips with the scheduling system as well as doing research for the NADINE project Facebook and Twitter accounts. I went to The Canteen for my first lunch after Lauren recommended it to me and I’ve since decided that it’ll be a frequent lunch spot, as the food is delicious and the team are lovely!

I’ve really enjoyed my first day; the aspire-international team are really friendly and helpful, and I’m eager to see what the next 2 weeks hold for me. If there’s anything I’ve taken away from my first day, it’s that my legs are undoubtedly going to ache after clambering up and down all 7 flights of stairs each day!

2nd April 2019

After my first early start of the week, I spent my first hour catching up on Brexit news I missed overnight to add to the research for the briefing paper. In such dynamic times, it’s no surprise that I was met with several pieces of news to read about the overnight developments in Brexit. I started writing up some of the research I had done that morning and from yesterday, and got some words on paper for the briefing- planning to update the information in a few days’ time. I am also continuing my research for the NADINE social media accounts, finding stories and statistics to share with followers. So far I feel like I’ve read a hundred news stories, and will probably read a hundred more by the end of the week, but I’m really enjoying the research and in particular seeing the application of the theory I’m learning in my degree. I also started a new task with Emma, doing a different type of research for the NADINE project – finding examples of English language learning tools to assist with further parts of the project. This was a nice break from the Brexit stories, and gave me more of an insight into what goes into these sorts of projects, and what services the department are working towards.

3rd April 2019

This morning, I spent an hour with the marketing team being briefed about their roles and the work that the department does, in preparation for my day with them next Wednesday. I will be filling in for one of the marketing and communications co-ordinators, Amanda Green, and finding out the roles she handles within aspire-igen. I’m excited to experience a day in the life of the marketing team. The prospect of stepping into Amanda’s shoes is daunting, but with Rachel to help, and Amanda’s excellent organisation and collection of instructions for me, I’m hopeful that I’ll be up to the job.

Today I’ve written a blog post for the aspire-international blog, about my experiences in the Serbian culture, which links nicely with the work for the NADINE project on migrant experiences. I really enjoyed writing from my own experiences, and being able to use them to contribute to the blog in this way.

4th April 2019

This morning in the aspire-international office, I finished off my research and typed up the Brexit briefing I had been tasked with earlier this week. It’s been difficult to pin down the information to include, as it’s constantly changing – in the time taken to write this I will probably have to change some of the details again! I was also given some other research to do, finding possible contacts for a survey on migrant recruitment. The research was a welcome break from scouring news websites for Brexit developments, and it will be interesting to move forward and see how the work contributes to the project.

My first week at aspire-igen has been really eye-opening. I initially wanted work experience to help me get closer to deciding on a future career, and so far, my work experience here has done just that. I’ve got an insight of the sort of projects and services aspire-igen works on, and I’ve been pleased with all the opportunities I’ve been given to contribute. I’m really enjoying the varied work and different projects I’ve been helping out with, and everyone I’ve met has been very friendly and helpful, so I’m eager to come back next week and continue with the work!

Read my blog post about my experiences with Serbian culture here:


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