Ruth Samuel (1st year BSc Joint Honours Economics and Political Science) completed the Capgemini Community Challenge, for charity client Maninplace. Capgemini Community Challenge is a one week program delivering consultancy work for charities in the Shropshire area.
Work experience is defined as a short-term experience of employment. Most employers take that to mean students making coffee, photocopying, pushing papers, lunch errands and even more photocopying with a boss who clearly does not want you to be there. However, the Capgemini Community Challenge completely disregards this and provides a work experience that is consistent with the original definition, an actual insight into working as a consultant.
Walking into the building I was apprehensive, as I knew Capgemini was a large international company but as soon as I stepped into the ASE area my fears were immediately reassured. Surrounding me were masses of cuddly toys, books, pictures and a bright and colourful room, all the Capgemini staff were extremely welcoming and friendly and you could tell they were as excited as you were about the week ahead. This fostered the creativity and innovation we needed and was the perfect learning environment.
The fact that we were presented with a real charity with a real problem motivated us to succeed. Gone were the days of simulated case studies, we now had to work hard to find a tangible solution that could be carried forward after we had left. We were thrown right in the deep end and on the first day we already had to start finding solutions for our charity, Maninplace. However, we were never without the support of our mentors who provided us with advice and guidance when needed. The team building pre-session was extremely helpful to meet the team and understand the different personalities so on Monday we could immediately begin finding solutions to our charity.
Throughout the week, we were expected to behave like consultants, which helped us get into the right mind-set and achieve our goal of fulfilling the brief we were given which involved re-branding the company and creating a new IT system. At the end of the week we had to present our solutions back to the charity who were delighted with the results and actually used the logo we designed. This reiterated the fact that we actually used our work experience to help a charity in need and showed how much one can do with a simple week of work experience. This made the Challenge both fulfilling and rewarding. I recommend anyone who has the opportunity to do so, to do the Challenge and experience how gratifying work experience can be.