Owen McKemsley, 17, from Prestbury in Gloucestershire, has undertaken a week's work experience at Bovis Homes.
Owen, who attends Cleeve School, spent time in the Marketing and Graphics departments at the housebuilder's Western region headquarters in Bishop's Cleeve, as well as with the sales and build teams out on site.
Here, the Sixth Form pupil details his week and what he discovered about the housebuilding industry...
I’ve had an interest in the inner workings of business since I began studying the subject for my GCSEs and undertaking work experience at Bovis Homes has allowed me to explore that further while learning about housebuilding.
Owen McKemsley, right, with Bovis Homes PR Officer, Chris Campbell, at the housebuilder's Bishop's Cleeve office in Gloucestershire
One department that I have developed a particular enthusiasm for is Marketing. That is why, when the opportunity for work experience presented itself, I was keen to get involved in the Marketing department of a large company.
I have spent the majority of my week gaining a greater understanding of marketing and have found the experience thoroughly useful going forward. I’ve always questioned how much of what we learn in school actually applies to the real world and this week has shown me that business studies theory, that I write essays and do homework on, is genuinely how companies, like Bovis Homes, work.
My first day involved getting used to the work environment; I received a quick tour of the housebuilder’s offices, taught the daily routines of signing in, the lunch system, how to use a company computer and I was introduced to what the role of the marketing team was. I studied Bovis Homes brochures and asked questions about how and why they’re made, as well as what goes into them. I found that I understood why certain operations were carried out, due to my academic studies.
I didn’t expect to be that hands-on, but as the week progressed, I found myself taking on jobs for the housebuilder that would normally be done by somebody in full-time employment within the marketing team. I used the computer to research the local history of Witney - where a new site will be opening up - in order to come up with potential names for it. I found this to be interesting as I previously didn’t know that the names for sites actually held historical and cultural meaning.
I spent the first half of my third day in the Graphics department. Having undertaken a GCSE in Graphics, I thought I would know the goings on here. However, I learnt vast amounts and have a new-found appreciation for all the thought and work that goes into minor details on brochures, signage and 3D designs.
My second half of the day was spent visiting sites that were in different stages of development. From the untouched field in Cam, to the fully developed, almost fully sold, Coopers Edge in Gloucester. It was beneficial for me because I was able to see the physical objects that I had been studying on a computer screen in Graphics that day. I also learnt the reasons as to why certain signage and marketing was used and looked around multiple show homes.
As I began to get more comfortable with the environment and with the people I was working with, I found myself being assigned more important and engaging tasks.
My fourth day was spent entirely in Marketing and this was the part I enjoyed the most out of my week with Bovis Homes. I began by writing some tag line suggestions that were eventually sent to Heart Radio to use on Bovis Homes’ radio advertising.
This was followed by being taught how to compose a brief for a quarterly emailer. I wrote the text that will be on the emails, chose the images and suggested incentives that would be offered upon reservation. I was pleased to hear that my briefs were good enough to be sent up to Graphics and I’m looking forward to seeing what the final emails look like.
Overall, my experience at Bovis Homes has been a very positive one. I believe I’ve improved my confidence and communication skills by committing to every task I’ve undertaken throughout the week. Everyone here was welcoming and friendly and it was refreshing to be treated as a co-worker rather than a student.
I’ve learnt a lot about the housebuilding industry as well as general practices that go on within business and believe the knowledge I’ve gained at Bovis Homes will be very beneficial to me in the future.