1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on placement. Most of the work was interesting and challenging, but I especially enjoyed the additional activities I was able to get involved in as part of the graduate scheme, including organising a safety day for a primary school year group and helping run our national women in IT competition ("Could IT Be You?").
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt my value was varied depending on the scope of the piece of work. My skills were appreciated for the most part but due to the nature of the placement a large proportion of the work was additional "bonus" work for the team rather than tasks that would usually be completed
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Having had two assignment managers during my placement, one of them was extremely helpful and would always ensure that my workload was suitable whereas the other would often leave me to my own devices. My graduate manager was also always available to offer guidance and support
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Some days I was very busy with deadlines for important tasks, whereas other times I found that I had little to be getting on with. My experience is that during peak times of the year, my superiors found it difficult to delegate due to their high work loads
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given responsibility for a number of important spreadsheets, but as mentioned previously, a lot of the work didn't appear to be value-adding
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
A lot of the skills I have developed and learned will stand me in good stead when returning to university and beyond. I have grown in confidence as a result of the support, and my technical and business skills have developed due to being around skilled professionals day to day
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The general atmosphere in the office at Network Rail was fairly laid back. I particularly enjoyed the flexible working hours, and that even as industrial placements we were given the responsibility to choose our own working hours and come in on time without the need to clock in/out to register time. We organised a number of events with the other graduates and without our own teams, but this could have been more so
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The set up of the scheme was moderately well organised. I feel that the scheme itself was not where the scheme struggled, but more in the improper selection of assignment managers. Having a more senior assignment manager resulted in them having less time for me than my more junior manager had. Assignment managers should be more carefully selected in the future
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
A fair amount of time is committed to developing placement students, with extra work to improve skills and grow network. However, little financial investment is made to improve our skills. I believe that this is due to the public nature of the company, but I would have benefited from being put through a couple of courses to enhance the overall process and improve my skills prior to my final year at university
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Extremely appealing graduate scheme. I would relish the opportunity to undertake a rotational graduate scheme such as this, as it will allow me to explore different areas of the organisation to determine where my skills are best suited and find out where I would like to pursue a career in the future
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes, all of the placement students and graduates regularly meet up for lunch and drinks after work which is useful to find out about other areas of the business and grow your network. I believe there could have been more effort made between colleagues, but this varies from team to team and I know other functions who regularly go out for drinks and meals etc.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Above average. Due to being just half an hour from London the cost of accommodation was fairly high but not excessive. Likewise, the cost of socialising was higher than I am used to/was expecting, but for the location it was not extortionate and nothing compared to prices in London and other large cities
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife in the area was average. Due to being based in a fairly small city with no university, the nightlife could have been improved. There were plenty of bars and pubs in the area but these were quite spread out and difficult to get to without having to drive. There are two main nightclubs in the area, both of which are quite expensive
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were multiple opportunities to get involved with activities through the sports and social club, as well as social events organised by the graduates and placements/team members. There are also sporadic events which take place organised by the organisation, such as a quiz which took place recently and events which take place inside the office