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Work experience at the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care

I’m an S4 student at Portobello High School. This year everyone in my year group got the opportunity to experience a working environment for one week. You could choose from a list of suggested placements or find one yourself.

I decided to come to the SPPC as I’m very interested in working with people and helping those around us – this is the sort of work I would like to do when I’m older. My aunty Caroline who runs The Truacanta Project has spoken about her work and I’ve always thought it sounded great. I like the fact that it is breaking the stigma around talking about death, dying and bereavement. As I feel that in our society it is a topic which is so often avoided.

I knew a little bit about the work beforehand, but my knowledge and understanding has grown immensely. I learnt a lot about the Truacanta Project and the different events that are on throughout the year, for example, To Absent Friends and End of Life Aid Skills for Everyone. I know lots about Death Cafes and think they sound like a brilliant idea. I have been working on a proposal for a teenage death café which has been fun.

I’ve learned so much from my time with the SPPC. Being in an office environment is very different from school. Everyone was working on different tasks including me which gave me a sense of independence. I have been asked to do things I normally wouldn’t do such as write a blog post, create flyers and leaflets, write a proposal, and manage their social media. I attended a meeting with one of the shortlisted Truacanta communities where I learnt about their goals and hopes for their community. It was interesting to hear how they hoped to improve the conversation around death, dying and bereavement and how they wish to bring awareness and support into the local community.

I will take lots away from my time at SPPC. I gained an insight into how a charity works and saw how a good idea can turn into a reality. You don’t need to be a powerful person to make a change - if you have an idea you can make it happen with hard work and determination. I saw ordinary people wanting to make an impact on society and people’s perception on death, dying and bereavement.

Overall, I think work experience is a great opportunity for high school pupils as it gives us an insight into working life and the adult world and gives the chance to learn new skills and do tasks we might not normally do.

Lastly, I would like to thank SPPC for being so welcoming to me as it can be quite intimidating going somewhere new.

By Poppy Gibb-Kenny

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