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I think students must be the only category of people who actually work during their holidays - I mean the typical definition of a holiday almost always involves relaxation, having a lie in, taking some time off, etc. but for students this doesn't quite apply! Returning home from University in June for the summer I was handed a CV by my parents (who'd kindly adjusted my somewhat half hearted attempt to do my own), a list of local agencies and sent off into town to register with some temping agencies. It was either that or get a local bar job and well, working long hours while other people enjoyed their cavorting and drinking didn't really appeal to me!
Brook Street was the first agency I registered with, well it was the first agency I intended to register with but when I turned up there I was told I needed an appointment and to come back at a later date! Brook Street has over 140 branches in the UK and has been going for over 55 years now so it's quite a well known agency that can boast experience. It's now actually owned by Manpower Inc which is an agency that operates worldwide yet Brook Street still retains it's name and character.
So anyway fast forward two days and I found myself back at Brook Street, with my CV and two forms of identification (this is now a necessary requirement for any agency). I was greeted by a friendly guy who then took me through the registration process…
** The Process **
First things firsts, I was given a form to fill in which was 2 A4 sides and asked me basic details such as my name, DOB, address, next of kin, NI number, etc. on the first side. Moving onto the second side things got slightly more detailed as I had to list my last 3 employers, my previous job skills and references (I found this slightly tedious as they were all listed clearly on my CV).
Secondly came the imminent computer proficiency tests which almost always involve a typing task whereby you merely have to copy type off a sheet so they can measure your speed and accuracy for 3-5 minutes, a Word proficiency task to show you can carry out basic features such as opening a new document, saving a document, underlining text, etc. and also slightly more advanced features such as drawing a table, doing a mail merge, etc. Lastly followed an Excel text to show my data entry skills in number forms and Excel skills such as formulae and other things that merely confused me having not really used Excel since high school!
I then had a ten minute chat with the guy who asked me what sort of things I'd be prepared to do (in a non kinky way may I point out!) and what wages I'd be happy to work for (pretty much anything when you're that far in the red!). He gave me his card and assured me he'd be in touch as soon as anything suitable came in.
** My Thoughts **
The registration process is pretty typical of that any agency uses when you register for temporary work, it's fairly straightforward and quick. All they need are your contact details, your CV to send to companies and a basic indication of how good you are with a computer and also what types of work your personality is best suited to. The guy who dealt with me was efficient, friendly and quick. The branch I visited in Cardiff was uncluttered and quite superior looking compared to some other agencies I visited.
** The Next 2 Months **
Well I waited and waited for a phone call from them but nothing came for over six weeks, luckily another agency came up with me a month's work and then another week's work so I was earning - if it had been up to Brook Street I would have spent all my days drowning my sorrows in the pub! However about six weeks after I'd registered with them the guy gave me a call to tell me he had a week's reception work in that he thought I'd like (as if anyone LIKES work) and did I want him to send my CV? I thought that was quite a nice gesture - asking if I wanted my CV to be sent before he actually sent it. True to his word he rang me back about half an hour later saying that they'd like me to start on Monday and the rate of pay was £6. Typically temporary work such as admin and reception pays on average £5.50 to £6.50 where I live so the pay was fairly decent.
** The Job **
What can I say - disaster. I was told they were a shipping company who needed reception cover for a week, but when I got there the shipping company was located in a run down yard with reception being located in a porter-cabin with one of the windows missing! And was I doing reception work - well if your definition of reception work involves answering the phone a couple of the times, lugging big boxes around and unpacking engine parts then yes I was! Well I gave the job two days and hated it the second day just as much as the first, got oil all over my blouse and my shoes were filthy! So I rang Brook Street to say I wouldn't be going in on the third day due to the working circumstances and they assured me I would still be paid for the two days I had done the following Friday if I submitted my timesheet - which I did. And was I paid? Was I ever! Still waiting for the payment three weeks and numerous phone calls later!
** Conclusion **
So would I recommend Brook Street, well based on my experience I wouldn't but as with most agencies it really depends on the individual branch as to the type of work they get in and the people they employ. I certainly won't be accepting another job from them in the near future though! For more information you can visit their website www.brookstreet.co.uk to register for vacancies and find your local branch.
Good review, I've been on Brook Street's books for the last two years and have had a mixed experience with them. They found me one good job, but this year they've been incredibly disorganised. It's lucky that I'm signed up with other agencies too otherwise I'd still be waiting - ah the joys of temping! Helen x
srushsa 31.08.2005 23:15
Oh no, what a nightmare! Hope you get them sorted out. Good review, sara x