When I heard about the English in the Workplace module back when I was picking my second year subjects, I thought it was going to be about stocking shelves in Waterstones (because books, I guess) or teaching. I’m not even a full time English student — I do Creative Writing — so I didn’t sign up for it. I don’t want to stack shelves and I didn’t want to teach, so why would I?
Except it’s freaking nothing to do with stacking shelves and you can do loads of things, as well as teaching, and I missed out on exploring some pretty awesome stuff.
It’s a really good shout to do this module if you have some idea what you want to do when you finish uni. The whole point of it is to “allow you to work alongside professionals working (for example) in literacy schemes, environmental-awareness projects, schools, libraries and theatres in the region.”
Students that have done this module have gone to do editorial internships with magazines, with a local publisher, and they’ve worked writing the marketing material for charities and schools. They’ve worked to organise and promote events like open mics on campus, as well as teaching and . . . blogging?
Class of 2016 graduate Kerry Ann Fender did her report on “blogging as a force for change” and the language surrounding disability, because she blogs about family life and Down’s Syndrome. She’s also a Trustee of a local children’s charity, and helped set up their blog as part of her module placement.
Melissa Chatterton, who graduated this year as well, set up and organised weekly open mic nights. The events promoted student employability, creativity, and confidence, and exposed students to constructive criticism and feedback outside of a classroom environment.
Even this job — student blogging for Staffs — could be used as an English in the Workplace placement. A lot of students on my course do things that would count whether they were on the module or not, because we’re always encouraged to do things outside of the classroom that’ll help us in the future.
An example of that is the Dark in the Day anthology, which is being put together by Storm Constantine’s Immanion Press and one of Staffs’ Creative Writing lecturers, Paul Houghton. Students have been able to work closely with a professional editor and publishing company to get submissions to industry standard and then. . . you know, get published alongside established authors like Rosie Garland and Nicholas Royale. No big deal.
I kind of wish I’d had the forethought to look into the module properly before just dismissing it. English in the Workplace gives you the chance to test-drive the job you want when you leave, and it gives you skills and experience while you study, which makes you even more employable. Like I said though, we’re actively encouraged to pursue those opportunities even if we’re not on the module. . . so I won’t feel too bad about it.