Work Placement Is Done!

Yet again, I disappeared from my blog, but I’m back once more! I’ve really nothing exciting to talk about so I find it hard to think of some interesting things to write about.

But, after a long long time waiting, I finally completed my work placement! In my healthcare course, we have to do a minimum of 60 hours work work experience in a healthcare facility for being a HCA (Healthcare Assistant), but with Covid and all, our due dates were moved from November to January. Then it was postponed again until March. Thankfully we all got out then in March and I was really apprehensive about it.

My placement was in a small nursing home in a small town about 15 minutes drive from where I live, so it was very handy to get there. On Sunday I went to get a Covid test, and if it was negative, then I could start on Tuesday. So Tuesday came and I was quite nervous. I didn’t have a clue what to expect whatsoever, so it was very overwhelming. Thankfully pretty much all the staff members were so nice (apart from 1) and they helped me as much as they could with everything. Also all the patients are so lovely.

I was afraid in case I wouldn’t like it, but I actually really did. It’s very rewarding and I like that the time flies by. Also I like how there is a routine. From half 8 to half 10 you get the patients their breakfast, washed and ready for the day. At quarter past 12 they have their dinner. Then at quarter past 4 they have their tea. I finished at 5 then while the other staff stayed until half 8 to get them ready for bed.

I was supposed to get 6 weeks work experience but due to Covid we were only able to get 3 weeks, so I asked could I go in on Saturdays to gain more hours and they said that that was fine. So now I go every Saturday to get more experience.

So I enjoyed my time there and the patients are so cute and lovely, so saying good morning to them, helping them get ready and having a chat is something I always look forward to.

Hopefully now I’ll be able to get a job after my course ends!

Aisling

Work Placement

So, with my course finishing at the beginning of May, my course is FINALLY going out on Work Placement. Usually the course goes out in November and January, but because of Covid, ours was pushed back to January. Then numbers spiked during that time so our teacher pushed it back again until March.

For me, this is the most important aspect of the course. Ideally I would have liked to have the work placement in November, and if I enjoyed it then I would carry on with the course. Instead I’m pretty much nearly finished the course and I still have no idea if I was actually like working in this sector.

I have my placement location which is about 15 minute drive from my house so that’s fine. Also my teacher said that all the past students that done their placement really enjoyed it, so I’m hoping I will too. I will be working in a Nursing Home helping to look after the patients there, and like all my other classmates I’m quite nervous!

The plan is to work for 3 weeks and then we can ask and see if they will take us on for another 2 weeks during Easter break. That will mean we will have 5 weeks worth of work experience. Usually the group gets 6 weeks but this year we just couldn’t fit it in, so we have to use our Easter break to try and gain more. I don’t mind though because the experience is what I need.

I have to go up on Sunday to get my Covid test done, and if that is negative then I will either start next Tuesday or Wednesday. My husband got a test done and he said it was fine but others in my class said it was awful so I’m not sure what to think about getting it done!

I’m going to really miss our wee cat Lola though. I’m here with her literally all day so I hope she doesn’t get lonely without me. We have our routine of play time and that so she won’t know what to do on her own!

Aisling

Work Experience Week 2

photo of end signage

Photo by Ana Arantes on Pexels.com

After a long two weeks, my work experience is finally done! Well actually the first week was the longest ever, the second did speed up a bit which I was glad of! On Friday I finished at 3 instead of 5 because I worked two extra hours the first week. I’m back to college tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it!

I enjoyed the work experience and I actually learned a tonne, like how to answer the phone in a professional manner, how to transfer calls to other departments, how to check rates for rooms, how to book reservations, how to use the credit card machine. I really am stunned at how much I learned in two short weeks.

They offered me a part time job but I decided to turn it down. There are a few reasons for this, and I did think long and hard about it, but I just feel it was the right decision for me.

First was the wage. For the amount of things that the hotel receptionists do there they are paid horrifically. Like minimum wage bad. They have to put up with so much crap from guests and they really don’t get paid well for it. If the wage was higher and was appropriate for the work that they do then I would consider again.

Second was the hours. Because I would be the newbie I would end up working from 3pm until 11pm. And from 5pm I would be on my own until the night porter came in. I know that the Duty Managers are there but they could be in the restaurant or in an office or god knows where, and I would have to sort out drunk/ angry guests on my own. Last Friday the Duty Manager left so one of the girls who was on until 11pm had no one to help her if she had a problem!

Third I just don’t know if I would like to do the job. I really enjoyed chatting to the customers and what not but I just feel that If I did take it then I just wouldn’t enjoy it and I would dread having to go in every weekend. For me I struggle to be happy so I feel that taking the job would exacerbate this problem of mine so that’s another real reason.

I know people will be thinking that I should have taken the job so I could gain experience and what not, but to be honest I would rather sacrifice money and experience to be happy. That’s honestly how I feel. If I was happier I wouldn’t worry so much. We lived in Mexico for 9 months jobless so we got used to scrimping on money so me not having a job isn’t a drastic change. I know it could be the wrong choice but for now I just feel that it was right for me.

My husband is supportive of my decision as he knows how much I stress over things, but I know there are other people (like my Dad) who think I made the wrong decision. It annoys me that I have to frequently argue my reasons for not taking it. It’s easy for people to say ‘Oh just take it, it’ll be good work experience for you’ when they aren’t the ones who are going to work for minimum wage, until 11pm and having to be bombarded with insults and curses by guests. People should just respect my decision and leave it at that.

I’m loving college right now and I’ve been getting good grades, so I hope that when the course is done then I will have a much better chance at getting a job that I would enjoy doing. I struggled with my BA degree years ago so I just want to concentrate and apply myself 100% to the course I’m doing now so that I can gain as much out of it as possible. I want to prove to myself that If I work hard I can get the grades that I want.

I wonder how all my other classmates got on with their work experience?

Aisling

Work Experience Week 1

man standing in front of front desk

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

A posted here that I had to do 2 weeks of work experience related to customer service for my course, and I was worried that I wouldn’t get anywhere. Thankfully the hotel where my sister works accepted me to do the 2 weeks so I started there last Monday. And I have to say…. It was the LONGEST week of my entire life!

I don’t even know why!! It just dragged. I woke up on Wednesday and my heart dropped when I realised that it was only Wednesday, and that I had another 2 days to do. I work 9-5 Monday to Friday so during the week it’s quiet, so that is probably why it just seemed to drag. Then on Friday it was mad because a lot were checking in for the weekend. I work as a receptionist there.

The first day I really didn’t do much at all. The other receptionist did everything and I just kind of looked and listened to her, so that day was rather long!

Tuesday the front house manager was in and he got stuck into showing me things and getting me to practice how to use the hotel operating system. I never answered the phone but he was in the office talking to another person and to my HORROR the phone rang! I was looking at it thinking “Oh god I don’t want to answer it!” I ran into where he was and he was still talking and I thought “Oh I better answer it!” So I did and I was so nervous! I forget what the phone call was about and I probably didn’t have a clue what to say but I did it anyway. The front house manager came out to me and he said he was very surprised that I answered it on my second day. He trained other people and they didn’t answer it at all during their first week. He said that they just let it ring!

Now the only reason I answered it was because there was literally no one else to do it, so I felt I had to! I thought that if a person came over to the desk and there’s me standing next to a ringing phone then it wouldn’t look good. So for the past few days I was answering phones and usually passing it on to another receptionist or just asking them to call back. I successfully reserved a room for a lady though which I was so happy about. Usually I get flustered but I calmed down and took all her details and the room type and everything so when I put the phone down the manager came out and he said I did very well. Apparently he was listening in the office.

But if anyone who has worked with the Opera system in a hotel knows how difficult it is to use. This is the system that the hotel uses and it’s just so complicated. I can’t describe how hard it is, but I was shocked at the amount of things I have to learn. The special rates for rooms, special rates for different businesses, how to do multiple bookings in one persons name, printing out VAT receipts, loads of different billing payments for the different ways that people booked such as through booking.com, expedia.com, companies who pay their employees to stay at the hotel. The list is really endless! I thought it would be much simpler!

So for the past week I’ve been trying to get my head around the system but it’s very difficult. And the thing is If someone asks about something specific I can’t even try and guess because I’ll get it wrong. You either know it or you don’t, which made me feel very helpless.

Simple things I didn’t know, like what food is served in the restaurant, what time the gym closes at, but I’m slowly learning the basics of the job.

On Friday I learned how to book taxis and even that isn’t straightforward. I was trying to call a local taxi and it just wasn’t working. So I had to ask one of the receptionists and she said “Oh you have to put 9 at the beginning of the number”. Like how could I have known that!? Something simple like calling a number and I needed help.

I’ve another week to do and I really do wish that it was only for 1 week! It’s just so long and I actually miss going to school! I’ve learned a lot and met some lovely people but I’d rather go back to school now. I don’t get paid which doesn’t help!

I realise that I am good at talking to guests and I do have good people skills, but I’ve also realised how much I don’t know, that receptionists have to put up with a lot of sh*t from guests, and they really should be paid more than what they do. (I’ll talk about that in another post)

I hope next week goes faster and before I know it it will be 5 o clock on Friday!

Aisling