I had the opportunity to pick my work placement for two weeks as part of the Prince’s Trust Team Programme to pass my course. I chose the Garden Museum as I believed it was the perfect place to improve my social skills and gain experience in a workplace environment. I also love spending my time at museums so this was the perfect opportunity for me to gain experience in one. During my two weeks at the Garden Museum, I had the opportunity to meet and work with friendly staff and volunteers. I’ve got involved with different jobs throughout the two weeks and managed to have the opportunity to work on my communication skills by getting the chance to serve customers both at the reception and shop. Each day involves 100% motivation, stamina and patience.
Above: Entrance of the tower – I’m on the right.
My first day was on Tuesday, I had a little tour of the museum and was showed by a member of staff how the display units lights were turned on and during this process I’ve also managed to absorb some knowledge about the items on display and their history. Additionally, I was showed up the tower (131 steps exactly), this part of the museum is one of the oldest and contains a set of narrow, spiral stairs. Each step is an effort to walk up but once you’ve reach the top of the tower, you get an amazing view of London and can see the major landmarks such as the London Eye, Battersea Power Station and The Parliament House (Big Ben). The Tower is one my favourite places to be at the Garden Museum and it gives great opportunity to take some amazing photos while up there. Even if you have a fear of heights, you will forget about you fear, that’s how mesmerising the view is.
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to work in the office workplace and help a member of staff with some filing and my job for the day was to rearrange and tidy up the newspapers and articles by their date from recent first. At the end of the day, I had to divide them by their year and place them in a folder and labelling them by their year. What I’ve learned throughout the day is to keep more organised as it’s needed in everyday life and the feeling of how it’s like to work in workplace. I’ve learnt more about the history through the newspapers and articles I was sorting out. This was great experience for me and would believe it would a fantastic experience for those who are interested in media.
Thursday was my last day of the first week at the Garden Museum and I mainly spent my day serving customers with other volunteers around my age and working back and forth between the reception and shop. Since I wasn’t so confident using the till at the start, I tried to get as involved as possible by serving customers and using the till. The more I’ve used it, the more confident I’ve become as I previously have no customer service skills. If you’re someone who also had no previous experience using a till, at the Garden Museum, you will have the perfect opportunity to learn and this could be necessary for the future. Additionally, the tower was really popular with the public that day. I had to keep note of the time they went in and out and the number of people. There can’t be any more than seven at a time who could enter and this is due to the narrow, spiral staircase.
Above image: Gnomes at the Garden Museum.
At the start of the week, on Monday, I was at till (mainly shop) serving customers. I felt confident enough to use the till without getting stuck. It was quieter than usual since it was a Monday but there were occasionally customers purchasing items. The shop is my second favourite place to be in the role and this is due to the lovely, natural smell coming from the soaps and other items on the shelves. The time I’ve spent at the shop, I’ve noticed that the most popular items were the postcards, practically those containing lovely images of the tower.
Tuesday was a shorter day for me and I spent the morning doing some indoor and outdoor work with the plants. The first thing I did in the morning was cleaning and cutting some of the plants which needed tidying up. Afterwards, I spent my time at the front of the Garden Museum and planted the seedlings which were planted two weeks before and began to grow. I’ve learned that these seeds grow into beautiful flowers but there needs to be only a few in each area as it can get quite crowded. My final task was to remove the weeds around and between the stones. The tasks I’ve done in the morning were all hands on jobs. I personally enjoy the gardening and I don’t mind getting muddy throughout the process as I find it quite relaxing working around nature itself.
Wednesday, I’ve gone back to the office and spent time typing up this fantastic blog and explaining my time at the Garden Museum!
Above: A photo of me at my last day at work experience.
My time at the Garden Museum has been amazing, I’ve learnt a lot and discovered some of my hidden skills that I’m actually a quick learner if I put my mind to it, and that I should just trust my gut instincts. Additionally, I’ve immensely improved on my confidence and communication skills, the two I struggled with at the beginning.
If you’re interested in volunteering at the Garden Museum find out more here.