My Week at Moray Reach Out: University Work Experience

Aug 9, 2017

For a week in July Moray Reach Out hosted a wonderful student from the University of St Andrews who wanted to learn more about the world of marketing for charities and social enterprises! We were all excited for Katie to come in and see what Moray Reach Out has to offer! We want to thank her for all of her hard work and enthusiasm while she was with us! Here are her thoughts on her busy week:

My Week at Moray Reach Out

Coming to Moray Reach Out on my first day, I was not sure what to expect. Of course I knew that it was a social enterprise and the main focus was to provide vulnerable adults with work experience, but what I didn’t expect was the inclusivity of it all.

I arrived on my first day to meet Julia Chatfield (the Digital Marketing Officer), who I would be shadowing for the next week. Smiling and chatting, we wandered down to the first of Moray Reach Out’s three sites; In Stitches on Elgin High Street. There to greet me were some friendly faces otherwise known as Ruth, Mo and Sandy who turned out to be just as wonderful as the first impression deemed them to be.

Shona Radojkovic (Business and Development Manager) talked me through the ins and outs of Moray Reach Out. Turns out there was some serious history behind it, but at the heart of it all was the inclusive nature I would learn to know and love.

Watching Shona and Julia in their first meeting and reading through some of their reports was a true testament to the mammoth effort every one of the staff at Moray Reach Out puts in. Then, it was my turn!

The afternoon was spent learning about some of the tools that are available to businesses when promoting or branding them on specific platforms. I began my first project of making flyers for Buckie Coffee Morning (August 19th at Buckie Episcopal Church if any of you readers are interested)! It’s fair to say that my creative streak was certainly put to the test, but the support given to me by Julia really encouraged me to dig deep and create some options I never would have imagined I was capable of.

The next day led us to Buckie’s Waste Watchers; one of Moray Reach Out’s Recycling Centres. Here, I was fortunate enough to meet some of the trainees who were upbeat and ready to crack a joke! From a little back office that smelt like candy, Julia and I continued to work on a few more projects. I learnt how to create blogs (yes, I figured out how to create this; WOO HOO!) and also how to make a campaign, advert and sponsor sheet. They were not shy about keeping me busy, for which I was very grateful! If there was one thing that I certainly learnt from Waste Watchers, it’s that you MUST rinse your recyclables!!

Wednesday took me back to Buckie, but this time to meet the lovely ladies of Buckie Yarns. It was a real pleasure to get to know all of the trainees. Watching them knit so skilfully and to be absorbed into such a positive atmosphere was something I will hold with me for a very long time.

The ladies were working on a selection of items (all beautifully crafted) but the ones that really stood out were the blankets for pre-mature babies and “twiddlemuffs” for people with dementia. For those of you similar to myself who are unaware as to the definition of a twiddlemuff, they are colourful knitted (essentially) sleeves made from different material with extra buttons and ribbons sewn inside and out in order to keep patient’s hands busy. A worthy cause working for another worthy cause.

Overall, Wednesday was far more of a colourful day (literally) as I learnt how to use a professional camera and create colour schemes for a possible re-branding of Moray Reach Out (watch this space)! The best part was definitely testing my colour skills; who knew there were so many shades!

Returning to Elgin on Thursday brought me back to In Stitches. Yet again, some more friendly faces otherwise known as Anna and then Tracy, one of the trainees, who popped in for a cuppa and a quick chat. This day brought on some more creativity; writing blogs and learning how to create surveys to gather a focus group’s opinion.

A visit from Shona enlightened me as to another job role within Moray Reach Out; Communications and Business Development. Suffice to say, such a career has a true range of activities whether that be networking with other social enterprises, working on grants and funding or the general management of MRO’s sites. Learning more about this non-profit has once more opened my eyes to just how much work goes in by everyone here.

Friday saw the final day with Moray Reach Out and a trip to Lossiemouth Waste Watchers. Once again a team of smiley people all up for a chat before heading to work. The last day entailed some brushing up before the weekend and testing my knowledge as to how to use the tools I had been taught about during the week as well as looking into some advertising ideas.

It is fair to say that this has been a great experience here at Moray Reach Out. I have taken away a wealth of knowledge and have met a group of people who are all working for a great cause. I wish them all of the best in their future endeavours and I am so appreciative of their generous hospitality throughout this week.