Recently I completed a very interesting week of work experience with Natalie and the team at gemaker. It was here that I gained an insight into the commercialisation of a product and also how a business is run. Before I started Natalie asked me to look over the websites of clients we would be meeting with during my week of work experience. This gave me some context as to what the meetings would be about and also showed me that research and preparation are important and are still necessary even outside of school life and assessments.

Throughout the week I shadowed Natalie and observed how business meetings were conducted. This meant that some of the days were long as we had to work start up hours to suit the client’s needs and ensure we were on time for meetings. I was able to be a part of pre-meetings, client meetings and then post meetings all of which I actually found very interesting. I was also able to contribute to a website design by providing input and feedback, adding my perspective as a teenager.

One day was also used as a strategic planning day where I was given an insight into the financial workings of a business. Everyone contributed which showed me just how important team work is to success. It also highlighted the complexity of running a business and the amount of hard work and effort that is needed to create a successful company. Running a business is a lot of work but very rewarding!

I was also able to experience what flexible work life is all about when I worked from home just as all the other team members did. I was able to work on an aerospace project assigned to me by Julie, which I found particularly fun. I also researched and compiled a list of STEM programs and competitions for Natalie (see below).

On the final day of my work experience I learnt about intellectual property, patents and how difficult and expensive it is to successfully get a patent.  I was shown how important marketing is to a product or company, with this being reinforced with both good and bad examples. Natalie also told me how important it is to stand out from the crowd and showed me what a great website and resume should look like. I have also been given the opportunity to attend an event where start-up companies get 7 minutes to pitch their idea to an audience.

Overall, my work experience week has been very interesting and enjoyable. Before I started at gemaker I really had no idea how inventions and ideas were brought to the market and over the week I have learnt about everything from patents and intellectual property to funding and website design.  It has been a real eye opener for me, exposing me to other ways I can be involved in STEM industries such as the commercial side. It was an extremely enjoyable week at gemaker with everyday being different. The team was extremely friendly and approachable, I highly recommend it to any students considering a career in a STEM industry.