Work experience is one of those necessary evils that everyone seems to dread. I still remember my various experiences, on one occasion de-veining raw prawns for an entire day, with a shudder. On the other end of the scale the ‘baby sitters’ have the same feeling – it always seems to be an inconvenience. Well, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be unbearable. How does this relate to marketing your business? Read on.

At Jack in the box we have a strong focus on learning, and we would see at least one to two work experience students at our agency a term. Our work experience people range from high school students who are not sure of what they want to do (but a marketing agency sounds cool) to interested uni students, looking for a real world perspective to their text-book world. For regional youth, their choices are limited and we pride ourselves on being able to offer a program that gives them a snapshot of how the bigger agencies might operate without having to travel to Perth.

Don’t worry – our work experience student hasn’t just been writing your marketing strategy or designing your advert – due to our diligent commitment to confidentiality we don’t allow them to work on actual clients. So, we invent some. A young girl from Bunbury recently spent a week with us, creating a full marketing strategy for a fictional icecream business we invented in a rare moment of boundary-less creativity. The student typically works through a set of exercises, depending on their interests and capabilities. On the final day the student presents their package to us, and we create a disc of their work to take away with them. No coffee making, cleaning or paper shredding – actual work as we would perform for any one of our clients. On every occasion, the experience has been extremely positive for everyone involved, and we are constantly surprised by some of the amazing talents of today’s youth.

Work experience is not for everyone and it’s not always easy, but if you can make it work it can have great flow-on effects. It expands your networks and is another way to build brand awareness and loyalty. It’s about putting something back into the community. It’s also something to tell your clients and your networks about in newsletters, website updates etc. (like I’m doing right now). Celebrate the fact that you help people, just like you would a commitment to a charity or community group.

As they say, a little help goes a long way.