Like many students, Charles Bratton went to work during the Christmas break because he needed the money. "I couldn't have continued with my studies without a Christmas placement. The only job I could get was in a pork pie factory. My job was to package the pies in boxes. I wasn't thinking about this as work experience that could help me with my career after graduation. I did it just for the money, and to make it worthwhile, I had to put in double shifts. For four weeks, I worked 12 hours a day.
"I wouldn't say I gained anything from the experience - it was mind-numbing work. There was only one thing that happened that was educational.
"One day, I cut my finger on a machine while working. I asked my supervisor for a plaster. I told him I didn't think I should be working with food while my finger was bleeding, but he just told me to carry on. It didn't really matter, he said. I was really surprised by his attitude, and it's the one thing from the whole experience that has stuck with me."