I’ve been working for WEXO for over three months now and was lucky enough to find the position through the website itself. However, my roots lie not in business development but the exotic world of archaeology.
I studied Egyptian Archaeology for three years at University College London and found it one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m often asked how I got ‘into the field’ as it were, as well as the more frequent questions about my relations to Indiana Jones and why I chose to design buildings (note: archaeology is NOT architecture), and so have decided to share my top five reasons for how and why I went into the Archaeological environment and why you all should too;
- Travel – Travelling around the UK and Europe and seeing ancient sites was what originally got me hooked. While studying for my undergraduate degree the opportunities to travel were fantastic. Beside study tours to Turkey and Egypt I was able to spend three months across three consecutive summers excavating a Roman fort in rural Romania. Sun equals fun.
- Experience – The best way to learn things in archaeology, especially if you want to become a field archaeologist, is to get stuck in. Experiencing techniques and evidence in the field is the best way to develop an understanding. There are various societies and field teams that allow students to come along and join in at weekends and school holidays. As long as it doesn’t spend the whole time raining with you knee-deep in mud and bones, it can act as a great foot in the door and helped me considerably.
- Research – Any background reading is a great asset, try out “Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice” by Renfrew and Bahn. Following current affairs also provides a great residual knowledge of archaeology and enables you to make wild assumptions about a series of small walls in true Time Team style. The best source online is http://www.archaeology.co.uk/ .
- University – Studying archaeology is predictably the best way to turn the hobby into a career, and you’ll quickly come to realise Tony Robinson is no expert.
- Variation – An aspect of archaeology that you can’t find in most dull office jobs is that of variation. Whether you’re travelling abroad in sunnier climes, writing a research paper, excavating a burial ground, or dabbling in site photography, the one thing you will never be is bored!
Let’s hope this has encouraged you all to jump on the archaeological band wagon and start digging up your parent’s garden!
There is an interesting discussion going on at the moment on econsultancy.com called ‘Death to spec work and unpaid work experience’. Our take on it is this: The UK legal situation on unpaid work experience and internships IS a grey area. See our FAQs for more details. The real point is that this is a free market and companies can decide whether or how much to pay their interns (if they are not constrained by the government regulations). Equally, students or graduates can decide what they are prepared to accept as reward for gaining important experience. So the big question is: why should interns be paid – isn’t the experience payment enough?
Whilst work experience placements and internships help get students and graduates on their chosen career path, the work they do still adds value to a business, and this should be rewarded. We encourage the companies on WEXO to offer interns payment if possible and paying our own interns above the National Minimum Wage guidelines. We think this is fair given what we are looking for but no two ‘experiences’ are the same… I’m sure some people would happily do an unpaid internship at The Playboy mansions in New York (and I can see how it could fulfil all 6 of the US legal restrictions – especially ‘If the training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in a vocational school!’).
Now more than ever, we believe that internships give companies AND interns a cost-effective and non-binding solution to financial and commitment concerns allowing them to try each other out before they pursue more permanent arrangements.
And in conclusion, I defer to Sir Arnold Bax (English composer and poet): “You should make a point of trying every experience once, excepting incest and folk dancing”.
WEXO tip of the day… Don’t leave it til the interview – include ALL the relevant experience you’ve had in your CV!!!
After digging around for details on the government’s ‘Graduate Talent Pool’ initiative which will be going live to graduates in September, we spoke to the programme manager this morning. He said that the government promotion of this scheme will be particularly geared towards educating companies to the benefits of internships and that they will be working with existing private sector initiatives like ours.
In light of the current economic situation and the graduation of this year’s students into one of history’s toughest job markets, it is encouraging to see the Government helping graduates to gain skills and open doors to companies with their Graduate Talent Pool initiative.
While many large companies already offer structured internship schemes, work placement programs need to be promoted within small and medium-sized businesses. It is these SMEs that represent the backbone of the British economy. They are in the greatest need of talented and skilled students but lack the resources to proactively recruit them.
We need to ensure that we continue to invest in these students’ futures by training up the next generation of professionals!
The Graduate Talent Pool goes live later in the year, but don’t forget that for students graduating this summer and for those of you currently looking for work, there are already a number of resources available online and offline to help you pursue your chosen career.
- Robin Kennedy, WEXO CEO
Did you grow up thinking you were destined for something special? I did. I remember at various times in my life thinking that I was actually sent ‘undercover’ on a mission to earth from space (Dad eventually showed me my birth certificate), that I was going to be a rock star (I have had to resort to managing what I believe is the most precociously talented band on earth), and that I was going to be able to find the quintessential investment strategy (having spent 10 years searching and a lot of money besides, I’m still working on it).
The truth is that I don’t think we ever stop growing up. But, equally, we keep striving… and so we should. Political sympathies (and GB) aside, I’ve never seen anything wrong with a society that encourages initiative and entrepreneurialism. To resort to the old adage, is there any reason why I should be able to lazily lie in my bed and still get paid, along with my ‘fellow man’ who is sweating away, toiling in the fields?
There will always be pretenders and there will always be producers. As WEXO moves from strength to strength (and despite the above, any lack of delivery is still accommodated for – try us), I sit here on a bank holiday weekend sizing up the competition and thinking about what exactly it is that can make us better or even the best… Of course, we have our own ideas on this (watch this space and all comments welcome) but I read somewhere recently that a great business is one that, if you knew the founders, you would run up to them on the street and give them a great big hug! I don’t think that we’re there yet, but we’re certainly trying to move in that direction. In the same way, I’m only 33, but from someone who’s been everything from a kitchen porter to a ski instructor, an ice cream man to an investment banker and a factory worker to a failed musician (!), trust me, EXPERIENCE is everything… Check ours out, let us know your thoughts… and most importantly (whilst times are hard)… keep striving…