Socius are always open to young people wanting to gain work experience. We have welcomed a range of students from different ages and backgrounds in the past, and enjoy the dynamic of a fresh-faced person in the team for a couple of weeks. Eoin was an excellent addition, he showed enthusiasm and great willingness to get involved in a variety of tasks and meetings. Eoin has shared his experience as follows...
During my 8 days at Socius, I quickly learnt that no two days are alike. Each person has a huge responsibility to fill, and shadowing them was a pleasure. Every day is varied - so much goes into the planning, design and construction of each project they are involved in.
On my first day, I was given a tour of the office and met some of the team. After a short period of getting my bearings, I was invited to Milton Keynes to meet with a potential future partner. I found it interesting to see how closely Socius works with their prospective partners and how much background and understanding they gather before finalising design plans. It's worth saying that no two projects within Socius are the same.
The day after, I travelled to Brighton with some of the team to see one of their construction sites that is nearing completion. I got to see how much work went into the construction and how necessary and varied all the roles involved with the buildings development are. I had never visited a large scale construction site before so seeing the different blocks at different stages of completion was really interesting.
I was able to shadow a board meeting with external investors and I saw how they collaboratively solved problems with each other. There were things being discussed I didn’t initially understand, but everyone was helpful in answering my questions. I also went to a meeting about a project still in the early stages of planning and design. It was primarily about marketing and branding, as well as key areas to focus on and promote, as the project moved forward.
I was also tasked with conducting some research about companies in the UK that we are possibly looking to work with in the future. I also researched existing sites around the country and wrote up what their strengths and weaknesses were. In addition to this, I listened in on a meeting about laws and planning protections in place that would conflict with designs, and saw how people within Socius worked with those who specialised in the issues and how they work together to come to a solution to resolve these.
The highlight of my next week was when I made my way to back to Brighton to meet Nicola, Socius’ Housing Manager. I was meeting her to learn about and discuss the ‘handover’ process where sites nearing completion are prepared to be given to the people who will actually use and own them. I saw some of the buildings there and learnt about the different things that have to be considered and adjusted with the user in mind, from problems as large as health & safety to smaller things like the signage for navigating around the site.
My experience with Socius was definitely a learning curve – getting used to the three-letter-acronyms and development specific terminology took a while! It was my first work experience, so I had no idea what to expect, but it was something I enjoyed very much.