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Work experience in France for the sixth form Advanced Level French students is all about fitting quickly into a team, communicating with the public and quickly grasping what the set work entails. James Griffiths, for example, whose placement was at the big sports gear chain, Decathlon, assembled bicycles and priced goods using in-store “logiciel” (software) in addition to other tasks. Whereas Matthew Webb-Martin, who did a daily shift from 2pm to 8pm at “Le Bowling”, quickly adapted his French vocabulary to foot sizes for shoe distribution, booking times and handling ticket money – all the time having a steady contact with people of all ages.
The week was not all work-oriented. There was an ice-skating excursion, a reception at the Hôtel de Ville and a discotheque on the final evening, as well as the ongoing appreciation of the interesting city of Nantes. A city, which is home to 50,000 students, inevitably has a lively atmosphere - in addition to its excellent shopping opportunities. The students, accommodated in families, tasted some of the local Breton specialities whilst they chatted with their host families over dinner.
The degree of occupation was different for each student. Tristan Griffith was exhausted after his six hours in “La Crêperie Sainte Croix” where he prepared food in the busy kitchen for a couple of hours before taking orders and serving customers until early afternoon. In contrast, Seren Spencer Ellis spent long hours at the reception desk of a small hotel, during which time she answered the phone a few times. Fortunately she was able to transfer to a restaurant – and the pace changed!
Shahen Dahlia was in his element in “Les Pianos Deseveray”, a well -known name in the French musical world. Predictably, contact with customers was not frequent, but he quickly found a role in the team, whether it was unpacking new electric keyboards or helping in the repair department.
Richard Herreros Symons had experience of two very different shops. He exchanged rather tedious inventory taking in a specialised Catholic bookshop for “Glisse sur Terre”, a shop which specialises in skateboards.
Charlotte Boyce occasionally found it frustrating when her workmates at “Complex Form” interrupted her as she was dealing quite competently with a regular fitness club member or an enquiry. However, like everyone in the group, she was pleased with her accomplishments and proud of the significant improvement in her French by the end of the week.