What I Learned From My Work Experience

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Like most 15 year old's this summer, Ketsia Mukobo has just finished a work placement. She breaks down just why hers opened her eyes to the need for more women in the workplace. We need some more girls in here!

cookie monster work

Recently, – like the majority of people my age over the summer –  I had the opportunity to do work experience at a barrister’s chamber.  A barrister’s chamber is where clerks work to sort out the barrister’s timetables and finances. I spent most of my week printing out fee notes, deleting closed cases, sending emails, printing out letters, sorting out folders of past cases and all of the other ‘amazing’ things you could ever do in an office-based environment.

At first, I had very high expectations for this placement due to the fact that it often viewed as one of the most respected industries in the UK. Also, the simple fact that I always wanted to be in an office – in professional clothing, typing away, picking up calls and all that kind of jazz.

However, that dream was completely shattered when I entered a very dull reality which nearly, just nearly made me go bananas! Not only was this place exactly what any enthusiastic, cheerful teenager would deem a complete nightmare, I also felt quite intimidated. I know what you’re thinking, barristers chamber, just the word sounds intense! But no darling, it’s not because of that but it was due to the simple fact that I found myself in a work place, which was hugely dominated by older white men with very little diversity.

“At first,  I had very high expectations for the placement,but  that dream was completely shattered when I entered a very dull reality!”

It made me wonder whether other young girls like me (I’m a 15 year old black girl, for context) would feel uncomfortable being in a place such as this. Luckily for me, the employees made me feel welcome, but that might not always be the case for some young teenage girls. The lack of visibility could lead to them seeing the low amount of female workers there and feel that they cannot achieve much. This could lead them to completely change their career path. This could be a contributing factor to the statistic showing that women make up only 25% of judges in England and Wales and that there is only one female Supreme Court Justice – Baroness Hale.

Mary Aze, 20, who is currently studying Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science at university said: “The amount of women in these industries are quite low but I do think women are doing a lot for themselves in the way society has evolved.”

Now, I’m not saying that women should flip things over and want to be above men – no no no.  Going back to my own experience, I understood the importance of addressing male dominated industries as I was unaware of the issue before.  This work experience has affected my approach on the world of work, and the much needed change that needs to take place in our society.


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