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A taste of Highlight: Work Experience with Ed Earl

Last week we had Ed Earl, a 16-year-old Grammar student from Guildford, join us for a week as part of his Summer work placement. Having just finished his GCSEs, Ed is considering a career in IT, so Highlight was a good fit for him. Before he left, we had a chat with him about his experience.

Richard Ed Earl

Why did you choose Highlight?

My work experience was organised through my school; we were given a list of places to choose from and Highlight stood out to me since IT; precisely networking is of interest to me.

Why are you interested in IT?

I’ve always been drawn to technology from an early age; both hardware and software. I became interested in how Local Area Networks (LANs) and Wide Area Networks (WANs) run so I started to carry out research in my spare time which fuelled my interest further. Before completing my work experience at Highlight, I only had theory-based knowledge, but now I can actually understand the practicality behind it all.

Overall, how did your week go?

It went well, it was enjoyable, and I had a fairly good variety of tasks to do. I spent each day with different departments within the company: sales, operations, development and so on. This exposed me to several business functions and really gave me a feel for what day to day activity goes on here.

What area of the business interested you the most?

I would say Operations. Initially, Operations sounded boring but there’s a lot more to it than I thought. There’s a range of variety within the department including helping customers, managing aspects of the website, managing Highlight’s analytics and overall making sure everything is running smoothly.

How would you describe Highlight as a company?

Highlight has a very positive and relaxed environment. I found everyone to be friendly and welcoming and I liked that there was a pool table in the kitchen too.

What have you learned from this experience?

I think the main thing I’ve learned, which also surprised me, is how many people are required to effectively run the business. I thought that I would just be with the people who develop the Highlight software, as I didn’t realise how many departments it takes; such as people to sell the software, keep customers consistently happy and manage finances.

Would you recommend Highlight for work experience?

Yes – it was a new and different experience to me. I may be someone who’s interested in technology in my spare time, but someone who’s not might not consider a job like this and therefore they wouldn’t ever know what it’s like. It’s definitely given me an insight of what it’s like to work in the technology industry and now I can consider whether it’ll be the right type of job for me in the future.

Richard Thomas, CEO at Highlight, says “We were delighted to have Ed with us for his work experience. It seemed that he really enjoyed his time here and we were able to give him a complete picture of how a company works as well as the chance to dig deeper into the technologies of Networking and Software Development.

“It’s so important that young people get a positive impression of business, and see technology being used for interesting things. That real-world exposure is hard to come by; businesses should be looking for chances to support the younger generation, and help connect their education to the world they live in. And that’s something we’re really keen on at Highlight.”