Rhianna, age 17

Thankfully, I’m done with the first year of my A level course. Yay!!!!! Upon looking at the countless amounts of University prospectuses I noticed that Work experience kept popping up as something essential for students to have. My college also agreed with this idea and recommended loads of different types of available placements for me but the idea of working at a cake shop or cafe really didn’t appeal to me. So when the opportunity arose for me to spend two weeks at Paddington Arts I jumped at the chance as it was in the field that I want to go into in my adult life therefore I knew it would be most beneficial.

I’m currently studying 4 subjects at AS level: Drama, Media, Sociology and English Literature. So you can understand why at the thought of working in a theatre immediately appealed to my thespian side. I traveled up to London on the Friday before I started, to meet Kathy, the assistant to the manager of the company, and had a quick brief about my duties and what to expect. After leaving shortly after, I was so exited to start after the weekend; from meeting her I knew I was in for a fun ride because she was just so bubbly and nice and put me at ease straight away.

I arrived at Paddington Arts a few minutes early (ok maybe it was 35 minutes early but in my defense I didn’t expect the public transport to be so efficient.) I know what you’re thinking, “she’s keen” but this meant that I was on time on my first day. The caretaker, who, like everyone else at this establishment, was very friendly and welcoming, greeted me.

Tuesday was largely spent with me familiarising myself with the company and what it offers young people by looking at their social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr- Youth Arts Online Youth Arts Online is ‘a free digital platform and social network for young creatives of all talents’. Effectively, it’s a sort of a crossover of Facebook and Tumblr and is primarily aimed at 16-26 year olds.

I was then assigned a task by the Director, Steve Shaw, to conduct my own interview with an influential and inspiring young social entrepreneur called Nathaniel Peat who truly inspired me to stick at my dreams and not to fear the obstacles placed in my way but to rise above them. I learnt something else on that day, something I couldn’t ignore at any point during my time here: and that was how genuine and down to earth all the people are at Paddington Arts. And I’m not just saying this because they are all around me probably reading what I’m writing; I’m saying this because it is the truth. Prior to my meet and greet on the Friday I was fairly nervous and anxious about coming here but after spending 5 minutes here I knew that my previous fears and anxieties were completely wrong and unnecessary. From the first day, I knew I was going to get on here fine because I truly felt welcomed and apart of their work family, albeit slightly dysfunctional and mad, but a family nonetheless.

My main role here is to help Kate with the social media and so for the majority of the week I was helping her to chase down people who we could write pieces on or help contribute to the site by them posting blogs or writing pieces themselves. In the two days that I’d been there, I had already scouted one person to help contribute to the site through her writing. Looks like I’m an agent now. So anyone out there, that wants to be discovered I’m your girl.

Paddington Arts is a fantastic organisation for supporting and nurturing young people. Even if you’re not a thespian like me or someone that isn’t the arts at all, this place is still beneficial in terms of giving you experience. From the first week alone: I interviewed a social entrepreneur (on the first day, might I add), interviewed the councilor of Westminster, done admin work (ok this might not be as interesting or as glamorous but it looks good on the old CV) and I’ve also gotten to meet and work with some really lovely and genuine people.

Rhianna x


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