George toogood being photographed digging

George writes:

My name is George Toogood and for two weeks I was at work experience at VGC Group. I worked for Zena Wigram, marketing manager.

I got the opportunity for this experience after Zena heard I was looking for a positive way to spend some time in summer and thankfully she decided to take me in. I was completely unsure of what direction to pursue career-wise so I felt this would be very helpful.

On my first day I was lucky enough to sit in on a meeting with Zena and Paddy Lennon. Paddy is a journalist and copywriter who regularly works with VGC. I found the meeting very helpful and I was given some valuable advice regarding my future – Paddy has spent a long time in the field I’m interested in and knew the exact requirements and qualities needed so I am grateful for that.

I was always kept busy during my time at VGC – Zena made sure of this, and I completed a variety of different tasks. During the first two days I helped organise and run a photoshoot. On this shoot I had the pleasure of observing professional photographer Michael Molloy at work. I found this really interesting and valuable as I am very interested in photography. I especially admired Michael’s people skills and manner in which he addressed the VGC staff in the photos, and I expect this contributed to how natural and relaxed they appeared. The picture at the top of this article is myself pretending to dig as Michael politely instructed.

The shoot took place for a number of reasons:Cole Hire van

  • Supporting VGC’s marketing campaign
  • To photograph Cole Hire vans ( see photo to the right )
  • To indicate the work VGC does on motorways
  • To add to the library of high quality images.

I have also done lots of web editing. I described and created job vacancies on the VGC website and then posted them to the relevant social networks. This helped James Andrews (recruitment support co-ordinator) and saved him some time recruiting skilled trades people for projects in Oxford and Bedford.

On my fourth day I had the fun task of finding some appropriate royalty-free music for a VGC corporate video.

I also supported the designer, Will from Kinetic, by providing interesting photographs for some awards that VGC has recently won, the Crossrail Sustainability award 2016 for maximising employment opportunities, and Beacon status. These photos are to be used in news releases and in VGC’s special edition of Outperformance. The Beacon Status award is only awarded to companies that are dedicated to setting, maintaining an improving outstanding health and safety standards. I enjoyed researching this award in preparation for drafting a news release on this topic. I then loaded the news release on to the website and sent it out to relevant media.

I worked with a number of programs I’ve never encountered before:

  • MailChimp
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Sharepoint
  • PaintShop Pro
  • WordPress content management system.

I explored the business side of communicating with people. VGC is looking to get some mints as branded merchandise and I was able to briefly liaise with the supplier to arrange a price which was a good bit of experience for me.

Maybe the most valuable skill I’ve been working on is talking to and emailing other employees all day. VGC has a very open and friendly environment and this made my stay at the company very pleasant. I made many a cup of tea during my stay and to my surprise I was offered a cup myself by the end of the fortnight. I would have liked to have stayed longer but Zena will be away on business so it felt like an appropriate time to end my stay.

Thank you to everyone at VGC for being so hospitable and to Zena for giving up her time to help me out – good luck to the company and all of its employees in the future.