My work experience week – virtually!

A blog written by Sixth Form student Jake Cahillane during his one week of virtual work experience at Breaking Blue in July 2020.

It is highly likely my work experience will differ from everyone else before me. I completed it from the comfort of my own desk at home. Despite being unable to come into an office, this made no difference to the time and care the staff put into taking care of me and assigning me tasks. Being at home, it made me more organised and coordinated as I had to get used to sending and receiving emails whereas in the office I would be physically handing a document to someone.

I was part of the behavioural science team, Disrupt, at Breaking Blue. Here, I worked on a project looking at how we can measure emotional responses in research. I spent my week reading into and evaluating new and innovative research methods the team are looking into, like facial coding and other measurements. This was amazing because it was a skillset I wanted to develop as I enjoy psychology and looking towards university and my plans for my future studies this is an area that is personally very useful for me.

During my time at Breaking Blue I took part in team meetings where we discussed behavioural science and how it can be applied to the kind of research we do. I also gave a presentation on my work – I was nervous but excited to have that experience! It was really useful to engage with the other team members on the work I’d done and answer their questions, whilst talking on a human level at times as well!

It was amazing to see how what you learn in school can be applicable to the working world and then see the extra knowledge and skills the team at Breaking Blue are able to teach you. In school, we use case studies to test reliability and validity of research. This was my key focus when evaluating the research methods at Breaking Blue and it’s great that the team gave me tasks that I really enjoy.

Overall, I would say my time at Breaking Blue has been very important to me going forward. One of the many things I’m taking away is that in the working world, you get used to drinking tea. A lot of tea! I went into my first work experience placement meeting feeling like a little shy, and came out at the end of the week feeling like an employee with more confidence. The main thing I would take away from the experience is the fact that I am more able to engage with other people and get feedback on my research work, whilst also helping others in how to improve theirs.