My First Day of Work Experience at Microsoft

by Ella Cassidy, Year 13 Student

Hey guys, I’m Ella and I’m currently doing a week’s work experience in Education Marketing at Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading. On arrival at the offices on my first day, I was told I was going to be helping with an event involving 100 year 6 children, which was quite daunting! However I was quickly relieved by the kind welcome I received from everyone I was introduced to. After having a tour around the offices to get my bearings, the children arrived, who seemed to all be really excited by the busy environment here at Microsoft. We led them into an auditorium where they were introduced to the day’s activities and were given a talk by Steve Beswick, the Senior Director of Microsoft Education in the UK. It was great to learn about his role and to see how keen all the children were to ask him questions.

As you could probably imagine, having 100 kids all doing one task together would be a bit crazy, so we split them up into 3 main groups, who each got involved in a range of exciting breakout sessions throughout the day. I started off by helping with the ‘Hour of Code’ session, which introduced them to the code.org activities (but quite frankly, they didn’t need much introducing!) I was shocked by how quickly the kids picked up coding, so much so that it made me feel quite old! They sped through the many levels of the code game and seemed to really enjoy it. Following that, we gave them the task to write their name on the Micro:bit device using the coding tool on microbit.co.uk. Again, they made it all look so easy and seemed excited to be receiving their own Micro:bit at school soon.

The next part of the day involved the children splitting up into 10 groups. Each group were asked to imagine they were a superhero, (ranging from Superman to Homer Simpson!) and to give a short presentation on how they think Microsoft products could help them. There were some pretty creative ideas, namely giving Homer a Microsoft Band 2 to help him manage his excessive donut consumption.

After a refuelling of fizzy drinks and chocolate at lunch, (which we quickly learned aren’t a good mix for excitable 10 year-olds), there were presentations for the children from interns and apprentices here at Microsoft. Watching these really helped me to get an overview of what their roles involve and gave me some pretty inspirational and useful advice about how they got to work at Microsoft.

The groups then took to the stage to present their ‘Imagine you were…’ superhero presentations. They were very enthusiastic, some even singing along the way as they gave convincing cases for how their superhero would make good use of Microsoft devices and software.

I then helped out with another breakout session, which was a trail around the five offices. The children seemed really excited by all of the cafés and facilities here at Microsoft HQ, especially the new "Minecraft room", which is full of Xboxes. As you can imagine, it was pretty hard to tear them away!

After the trail they were given clues describing various rooms they had just seen, and had to guess which building they’re located in, which is quite a challenge considering there are five different buildings here, but they remembered well! After introducing the last group to the Micro:bit, we all came together to wrap up the day and to award the prizes for the winner of the superhero presentations.

All in all I think it was a successful day and judging by their feedback at the end, I think the kids learned a lot and had fun too, with the majority rating it 10 out of 10 and giving enthusiastic feedback.

“Everything was amazing!”

“I thought it was BRILLIANT. I would love to come back again. THANK YOU!”

This was an exciting start to my week at Microsoft, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the rest of my time here brings!

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