I had just finished a postgraduate diploma in general journalism when I applied for a one day a week work experience as an Editorial Assistant at YouthNet. I was working part-time as a Sales Assistant and wanted to boost my chances of getting a media job.
On my first day, I got stuck into sourcing images for features, writing copy for TheSite.org homepage and planning an article. I immediately liked the work environment and could tell it would be the highlight of my week for a while. During the next six months I was given plenty of opportunities to boost my confidence and of course my CV. I helped with research, wrote a handful of factsheets and conducted interviews. Their journalists always gave me thorough feedback and helped me to improve.
Following my work experience stint, I went to work as an Editorial Assistant for a marketing news website. Over the next year and a half, I stayed in touch with the YouthNet journalists and continued to submit articles. I also started to volunteer as a discussion board moderator for TheSite.org community. By then I had realised I was committed to online publishing, but had started to develop more of an interest in user-facing services and so I applied for a job at YouthNet in the communities team.
Since I’ve started working here, I’ve been promoted from Communities’ Development Officer to Communities’ Involvement Manager and have worked on a variety of projects across three different websites. Sometimes I can’t get over how diverse my work is. I’ve been involved with launching a live chat service, introducing blogging across all our websites, supporting volunteers, developing training and launching a brand new website. The role has allowed me to gain masses of knowledge about advice and guidance and I’m pleased that my editorial experience continues to come in handy.
At the moment, I’m working on improving the way we consult with young people when developing our services. This is quite a big piece of work which may lead to me managing a staff member, something I’ll be really eager to take on.
When I interviewed to work at the marketing news website, they asked the classic question: where do you see yourself in five years time? I said I’d be a Features Editor. That was actually five years ago and it’s certainly not where I am now. It goes to show I would probably get the answer wrong if asked again, but I’m certainly excited about where I could be in another five years‘ time.
Helen Williams, Communities’ Involvement Manager, YouthNet
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