Oliver Leary

IT Services Analyst

  • Business Computing & IT
  • Aston University
  • Placement Year (10 Months+)
  • Vauxhall

Can You Give Us A Brief Overview Of The IT Services Department?

In IT Services we cover all aspects of end user computing, from simple support requests to the design and implementation of new infrastructure projects in the UK, Ireland and the Nordics.

Part of my role in IT Services involves helping employees with unique IT issues or those not suited to the normal Helpdesk, so any specialised requests or those time critical, I will help identify the issue and escalate as appropriate. We have a Global IT Helpdesk which deals with the standard IT issues and passes on the more technical issues to the back office support. I help manage the user contacts, whether by phone or email and increasingly social media.

The second part of IT Services is again end user focussed and I would describe as project based, a couple of examples are creating a companywide IT newsletter and managing the IT intranet site, but we will also get involved with other projects on an ad-hoc basis. For example General Motors is currently moving all users globally onto Microsoft Outlook, as part of this we took the decision to provide training sessions for European users to attend before they moves over from Lotus Notes. I have also been set a number of personal projects which include deploying over 350 new smartphones to user nationwide, improving the off-boarding (leavers) process and managing the refresh of printers when IT Services takes over responsibility of all printers in the UK headquarters. We are also planning to move mobile network provider to EE, allowing us access to the latest 4G smartphones, increasing mobility and the way phones interact with our new vehicles.

“I think the most important thing has been that I have not been treated as an ‘intern or student’, but as an employee and have been given the opportunity to carry out valuable work which not only helps the business but also my personal development.”

What Is A Typical Day Like For You?

Each day is completely different. My work is very varied as a lot of my work tends to be ad-hoc. Each day tends to bring its own challenges as well, users right from apprentices to European directors across the business will call in about anything and effectively put you on the spot and under a bit of pressure, but because it is so varied and each day is different it makes it more interesting, what would be the point in a nice and easy placement anyway?

Typically, each morning I check the IT Service’s e-mail inbox to see if we have any outstanding queries or any e-mails received overnight. I aim to resolve them as quickly as possible, not just to keep users happy but also because the number of outstanding cases we have are used as a performance metric in our brief morning meeting. The daily meeting is an opportunity for IT Services and the local desktop support team to collaborate and update each other on any issues we have. Other than that it all very much depends on how many phone calls/e-mails we get, some days are busier than others, but if it is quiet it gives me time to concentrate on my projects.

How Much Responsibility Have You Been Given During Your Placement?

I didn’t think I’d be given as much responsibility as I have. From the very beginning I was working with senior managers and directors, helping with their IT problems, playing an important part and helping end users from the very beginning.

Since then my responsibilities have just kept growing, from providing training sessions to users across Europe, managing and dealing with user’s mobile phone accounts and on-boarding and setting up this year’s new intake of apprentices.

IT Services Analyst

What Has Been The Highlight Of Your Placement So Far?

I wouldn’t say there has been a specific moment or highlight that stands out the most, more the whole experience. I think the most important thing has been that I have not been treated as an ‘intern or student’, but as an employee and have been given the opportunity to carry out valuable work which not only helps the business but also my personal development.

What Is The Social Life Like As A Placement Student At Vauxhall?

The social life is second to none at Vauxhall. I am based in Luton and this year there are 95 undergraduates which creates a great atmosphere and mini community. Many of us have relocated to Luton for the year so we rent houses together much like at university.

There’s always something to do here whether it be an evening or weekend. Everyone has a chance to get to know each other during the first two weeks of placement where we have a hectic social schedule and things planned for every night, activities this year included pub golf, department meals, and a night out in Watford. I have a great group of friends at Vauxhall in a wide range of departments, so through this social networking I am also increasing my knowledge of several other business functions.

“Having worked and spoken with people across the business I now have a much broader mind set and have learnt more about potential career paths I hadn’t even considered or ruled out before coming on placement.”

How Has Working At Vauxhall Improved Your Career Prospects?

I now have a much better sense of how a global company operates, not just with regards to IT but other departments as well. Having worked and spoken with people across the business I now have a much broader mind set and have learnt more about potential career paths I hadn’t even considered or ruled out before coming on placement.

Regardless of how much you think you have learnt about your chosen career from your studies you will learn so much more and acquire so many skills from a work placement that you can then apply and build upon throughout your career. Vauxhall has given me every opportunity to get involved and is very supportive in allowing me to make the most of my time here.

Ultimately my placement has made me more confident in my own abilities and has improved my knowledge within the IT industry, but more importantly has made me much more employable.

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