Working for change: six weeks with Forster
Anyone who has done work experience for the first time can relate to that feeling of trepidation as you approach the office door on your first day.
As I journeyed to London Bridge to begin my placement with Forster, I had a nagging sense of dread that by the end of the six weeks, my two main confidantes would be the printer and kettle.
Happily this couldn’t have been further from the truth, and I was immediately involved with a range of great projects, from the scourge of plastic waste through to adult innumeracy and combatting modern slavery.
But the most significant thing I took away was an appreciation of how my own small actions can have a big impact.
It was hard for me not to be impressed by Forster’s attitude to a variety of environmental, social and health-related issues, which had a significant bearing on my own thinking. Volunteering hours, mental health discussion groups, lunchtime running clubs and free healthy breakfasts are just a few of the initiatives in place to create a motivated, positive and engaged workforce, all united by a desire to make a difference.
This is a workforce which practices what they preach, and one that leads by example. It is little wonder that they are one of few certified B Corps in the UK, and have won Vitality UK’s Britain’s Healthiest Workplace award two years in a row.
From a personal point of view, my time at Forster encouraged me to improve my recycling habits. It shames me to say it, but my pre-Forster contribution towards recycling had been half-hearted at best. Fortunately, spending a fortnight working with a group of environmentally active people helped me realise the important impact that seemingly small behaviour changes can have.
Admittedly, the action I have taken is by no means ground-breaking. For the most part, it has involved incremental changes such as finding recycling stations, instead of dumping things in more conveniently placed rubbish bins, or turning to reusable coffee cups and water bottles instead of single-use plastic. Many, I’m sure, would scoff at this as little more than a drop in a plastic-filled ocean.
Yet whilst these actions may be small, they are also symbolic of something more powerful: a shift in mind-set. Albeit on a micro level, they show my new-found belief in the force of change, and also a willingness to take ownership of the problems facing our planet and a desire to tackle them.
Ultimately, change has to begin somewhere – more often than not on an individual level – and I’m glad my eyes have been opened to the impact small changes can have.