Studying Business Studies at University, I cover a wide range of modules and wanted to apply the theories to actual work situations. The operational placement enables you to explore all the different aspects that are involved in running a shift, like delivering good customer service, effectively managing your team, meeting targets whilst being cost effective and maintaining a high level of safety consciousness.
When working operationally and running a shift, you have to manage your team in an effective way so that everyone is working in a safe and efficient environment. Each day is completely different from one to the next; you are constantly communicating with customers and have to remain professional at all times. Tackling situations and problems can at first be very daunting as you heavily rely on ‘on the job’ training, however if you have a supportive team around you then you are able to learn and experience so much in such a short amount of time.
You are given a high level of responsibility throughout the year. This can be in the form of individual projects that you present and implement to your colleagues or managing a team of 20 plus drivers and warehouse operatives whilst running the shift. You are expected to react and make decisions quickly and effectively as the environment is very fast-paced and constantly changing.
In terms of completing the operational placement, try to gain as much exposure and experience throughout the year as possible. Ensure that you get involved in as many different areas of the site and try and work alongside as many of your colleagues as possible – their experience and knowledge will help your own development and increase your understanding of what it takes to be an effective manager.
Being young and new to the business world, having what seems like such a vast amount of responsibility can be quite overwhelming. As long as you remain focused and dedicated to getting the job done, your confidence grows and the hectic environment soon becomes familiar and easier to manage.
The graduate prospects at Gist are promising – if you have a successful placement year with Gist they may offer you a guaranteed place on the Graduate Scheme. There are many senior managers within Gist who started on the Graduate Scheme, including the CEO of the company.