Earlier this week, SYP's staff team had the pleasure of working with two secondary school pupils who were visiting the office for three days of work experience.
Robyn McInally (an S4 pupil at Selkirk High School) and Maya Todd (an S5 pupil at The Mary Erskine School) spent three days working alongside SYP staff learning more about how the charity operates, the various projects and campaigns being championed by SYP, and even a tour of the Scottish Parliament!
Here, Robyn and Maya tell us in their own words, about their three days with SYP!
Hi, my name is Robyn McInally and I am an S4 pupil at Selkirk High School.
Leading up to my work experience with SYP I was incredibly nervous. So nervous in fact that on the first day I arrived over half an hour early for the fear of being late and had to awkwardly hover about the street until I thought it had come to a reasonable time for me to turn up (which was still 20mins early, but whatever). However, as it turned out, I had absolutely no reason to be as nervous as I was because when I arrived all of the staff were so kind and welcoming.
For the first couple hours of the first day I met with all of the staff and they told me all about what their jobs are about, what SYP does as an organisation and they asked me all about why I chose to complete my work experience with SYP. Then at around 11 I went down to the Scottish Parliament and got a tour of the Parliament which I actually found very interesting. Afterwards I spent most of the day helping with preparations for the June National Sitting by helping make ballot papers and 'BIG' question flipcharts (a lot of stapling was involved... 340 staples to be exact!).
On the second day I spent the morning with Laura, Public Affairs Officer, and she explained all of the policies of SYP and how these policies are decided. We then spent some time doing more preparation for the Sitting such as cutting out things and making posters, etc.
Later on in the morning I met with Jenny, the Training and Development officer, and she talked a bit about the ways in which MSYPs (Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament) develop their skills, such as public speaking and consultation skills. She also spoke a little bit more about what she does in her job. Then afterwards a little more Sitting preparation was completed and once again a lot of staples were used, not quite as many as 340, but still a lot.
At the end of the day I got to sit in on a consultation with Scottish Water which Mo, Project Manager, had asked me to attend. I actually really enjoyed the consultation because I had never been to anything like that before and I got to meet a few of the MSYPs in attendance (they were all very nice). To make it even better, I got a free Scottish Water water bottle!
On the last day, I spent the morning working with Karen, the Communications Officer. I got to spend an hour taking over SYP’s Twitter account responding to messages and sharing posts which was a lot of fun. Karen then showed me how to make animated videos on the computer so I got to make a short animated video all about SYP’s National Sittings. Making the video was also a lot of fun to do and I’m probably now going to spend a lot of my free time at home making pointless wee animated videos.
And then after that Rosy, Events and Campaigns officer, asked me to write a blog post for the SYP website which I am doing right now.
All in all, I’ve really enjoyed my time here at SYP and would definitely recommend other people who are looking for work experience placements to get a placement here at SYP as I know that you will have a worthwhile experience.
I would also like to say a massive thank you to all the staff here that helped make the past few days so enjoyable and for making me feel welcome here :)
On Monday 4th June, 2018, I began my work experience with SYP, writes Maya. I chose to do my work experience with SYP due to my interest in politics and social issues.
On Monday morning we met with Rosy (Events and Campaigns Officer) and she gave us an introduction to SYP, including what they did and how they operated. We were given a tour of the office and given our information packs which included out timetable and the Lead the Way manifesto. We were then introduced to Karen (Communications Officer), Laura (Public Affairs Officer) and Kirsty (Administration and Policy Assistant). They gave us descriptions of their jobs, how they got to working for SYP and their experiences.
The week that we were there for work experience was the week before one of three National Sittings, so there were lots to be done for the rest of the morning. We had to prepare ballot papers, sort out feedback forms and write out the 'BIG' questions with our neatest handwriting. Next was a tour of the Scottish Parliament which I was very excited for as I had never been. The tour was very interesting and informative; my favourite part was seeing the main chamber and learning about the architecture of the building.
After that we had an hour’s lunch break, which included a trip down to Tesco, and then we were back in the office and ready to crack on. We had a meeting with the other team in the office which included Mo (Project Manager), Paul (Engagement and Participation Officer) and Jenny (Training and Development Officer). They also gave us their job descriptions and experiences at SYP. Finally, we then had to audit committee packs, making sure everything that was needed was included.
On our second day, we helped Laura with organising things for workshops for the Sitting. This included a lot of cutting and sticking. We then had to make posters for questions on Freedom of Information and illustrate them. After this, Laura went through SYP policy with us and got us to find and write out recommendations for the policy section of the website. Next was working with Training and Development Officer, Jenny, who we helped with organising more things for the Sitting (see photo below!).
After lunch, we helped Laura again by laminating, which I very much enjoyed, and cutting out barriers and supports for one of the workshops. We also helped sort feedback sheets and evaluation forms into folders. At half four we joined six MSYPs for a consultation with Scottish Water, who gave us free water bottles! Scottish Water wanted to come in and discuss how they could improve their engagement with younger people. As part of this, we all had our say on the future of Scotland’s water and waste services. This consultation was very interesting and enjoyable as we were able to express our views and opinions on Scotland's environment and economy.
We started out our third and last day with filing more information about the Sitting into folders and boxes. After this, we joined SYP's Communications Officer, Karen, to help her create some short videos on the SYP 2019 elections and the National Sittings. This was fun as we got to create animations and add music and information. After this we got to takeover SYPs Twitter for an hour which meant we were able to tweet on behalf of SYP and reply to messages and comments. We were also able to add our own gifs and pictures, which we had a lot of fun with!
After lunch we began our blog writing and reflecting on our time at SYP. Even though we were only here for three days, we got a lot of experience and useful information from everyone in the office, who were all very friendly and helpful and made our experience very enjoyable.
I highly recommend SYP to those looking for experience in politics and social issues.