School’s Out, Work’s In!

Last week MEETinLEEDS had the pleasure of hosting two work experience interns, both of whom wanted to see what life is like on the University of Leeds campus. So without further ado, we’ll hand over to Katie and Rebecca and let them tell the story of their week in the world of conferences and events…

Art On Campus

Con-grad-ulations are in Order!

We were around campus during Summer Graduation and the exciting atmosphere was infectious! Every moment we spent outside we were surrounded by buzzing students, delicious food and surprisingly for the first few days, beautiful weather! We have to apologise now for the hundreds of graduation photos we now accidently feature in…

The team we worked with were amazing – we promise there are no bribes involved – and really worked hard to give us the best experience possible. They took a lot of time to explain and help us with anything they could, despite their VERY busy schedules! We are very grateful for all the time they spent with us.

It was our first time on the University of Leeds campus and we were amazed by how beautiful and massive it is. We spent a lot of our lunch wandering round, discovering a new pretty spot each day. The campus did a good job of selling itself to us before we even got near the conference team!

Meeting the Team

First thing Monday we met the team and had an induction with Geoff and Emma in the MEETinROOM (pun intended). Ryan then showed us how to monitor a social media account and how it works, showing us all the little details we hadn’t even considered, such as scheduling content and looking at the analytical statistics of a post to see how well it has performed. After seeing how the virtual world works, we then went out into the real world to take some photographs of the new “Sensory Garden” at Storm Jameson Court, which we then edited using the digital magic of Adobe Photoshop.

For lunch we went to the Refectory, which hosts many events and is well known for being the setting of The Who’s most famous gig, ‘Live at Leeds’, and also for hosting Elton John, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.

After a delicious lunch we headed over to Waterside Café with Geoff, who explained everything we needed to know about food health and safety – he has written one or two blogs on the subject too!

Playing Art

On Tuesday Emma took us on a tour of campus and visited some of the conference rooms, such as the enormous Conference Auditorium, where we stood at the lecturer’s desk. It must be quite intimidating to actually give a lecture here the first time!

We also visited Parkinson Court, which is home to the Stanley & Audrey Burton Art Gallery. We had a look at the free “Footsteps into Art” display, a showcase of work from five local primary schools.

We then returned to Storm Jameson Court, to work at the reception desk and check in some of the guests to the university. We didn’t know that anyone can come and stay overnight on the campus – it must be really useful because it is right in the middle of Leeds. We were amazed at the fact we were actually doing real jobs as we had expected to just be watching! It really made it more interesting and helped us get used to new environments.

After yet another lovely lunch we were given the Staff Healthy Week campus trail and followed it around campus, taking photos at every checkpoint. One of the areas we visited was St George’s field, a former cemetery, where we sat for a bit and enjoyed the peaceful quiet of the park. The trail helped us get a feel for the campus and gave us the opportunity to explore it ourselves. Take a look at our video to see where else we went, it was quite an adventure!

Blogging and Logging

On the Wednesday we sat in on a sales meeting and listened to how the office works long term and how they deal with conference enquires. We were amazed by the hard work everyone does and found the meeting a lot more interesting than it sounded, due to the humour of the team and the fact that they explained the acronyms that they use – and they use a lot!

We uploaded our photos on the computer and chose the ones we liked. Then started to plan this very blog, which gave us freedom to do our own project and share our experience.

On Thursday we did more enquiry logging – only 170 to go! – and continued our blogging project. We edited the photos we took while on our tour for a Facebook slideshow video and learned some more techniques on Adobe Photoshop.

We visited the Event Management Team, who explained a little about their job and how they manage all the conferences and look after all of the visiting delegates – they get over 80,000 every year! Seeing what the Event Managers do allowed us to follow the process that conferences take at the university: from sales enquiry to event completion. We were also given the chance to follow a tour for a client of a building on campus, which was an insight into how the sales team worked with clients outside the office.

What Have You Done Latte-ly?

On Friday we visited the Waterside Café in the Rodger Stevens building and were taught how to make all types of coffee. We’d heard that it takes two years to become a fully trained barista, but we seemed to do an okay job picking it up in 40 minutes – minus a slight steam accident!

Our heart designs may have been slightly wonky but we received no complaints and we even managed to put a smile on Ryan’s face with one of our first cappuccinos!

Overall we have really enjoyed our week and found the experiences we gained very useful. We are particularly thankful to Emma, Ryan, Geoff, Harriet, Bev and Lisa who made us feel very welcome and put a lot of effort into giving us the best experience possible. It has definitely shown us that, although we both love school, we could also be happy in other environments and that we can cope with new and different challenges – a lesson well worth learning!