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An Interview With Valene

Over the past few months, Valene has been spending some time volunteering here at TPO Towers. She had worked in television for ten years, but was made redundant from her position. This is her story.

Hi Valene. Why did you contact TPO in the first place?

I was looking to get back into work and the Job Centre connected me with TPO. Mariann [TPO’s Employment Liaison Officer] then reached out to me.

What were you looking to get out of a relationship with TPO?

I wanted some support with my CV and some help with my interview technique. I was looking to find some work and something to occupy my time with. I had experience with photography as I worked for ten years in the television industry, so photography was my initial avenue into TPO, however I was interested in progressing more into social media marketing, which was what TPO enabled me to do. It’s very difficult to progress in television unless you live in London or Manchester, and I’m not in a position to relocate, so after my redundancy I thought ‘Maybe it’s time to make a change’. I wanted to gain experience around social media, search engine optimisation, and analytics, to help me find future work in this sector.

In what ways did TPO enable you to progress?

They assisted me with my CV. They also enabled me to get experience working with social media, and they put a level of trust in me which I really appreciated. This has enabled me to get comfortable and confident with the jobs that I’ve been doing, and there’s a really welcoming atmosphere in the office, so it’s also developed my networking skills. I have received several job interviews as a result.

What have you been doing when you have been volunteering in the office?

I have been interviewed to help create content for TPO’s social media channels. I used my experience in social media marketing to help the Marketing Officer curate TPO’s social media presence: this involved making and scheduling posts, and planning posts with images, captions and quotes. I also gave advice on post frequency and consistency, and working together we have managed to really upgrade the social media, both internally and externally.

Has the help you’ve received continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes.  Mariann has been phoning me frequently to check-in with me about how I’m doing, both work-wise and emotionally. She has been really reliable about checking in with me, and I’ve really appreciated that. I’ve received several job interview opportunities since working with TPO, and Mariann has been super willing to help me with these.

What have you gotten out of volunteering with TPO?

I’ve received valuable experience with social media marketing and have made useful connections through networking. I’ve really enjoyed helping with the events that the orchestra have put on. I’ve also gained confidence in working in an office environment and I now feel more equipped to apply and interview for jobs.

What would you say to anyone who is thinking of coming to The People’s Orchestra for help?

I would recommend it, especially depending on which roles you are interested in. My advice would be “Be open-minded and try it”, as my experience has been really positive. I’ve been working with TPO for a year now, and I want to keep coming for as long as possible.

Thank you for your time, Valene.

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