1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed my year in industry with Network Rail. My year was made up of 3 rotations, all of which offered project based work which was challenging and engaging at the same time. I was very surprised by the level of work that I was involved in and the responsibility I was given. I felt supported throughout the whole year and was actively encouraged to challenge upwards in order to improve my understanding or get my ideas across.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
There is a real sense of belonging from day 1. I was been treated like a permanent employee throughout my time at the company. Colleagues were always willing to take time out of their day to offer advice, guidance and feedback as they wanted to aid my development, which in turn had a positive impact on the work I could deliver.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
There is a good support network in place. Each graduate or placement is paired up with a mentor who is part of the HR leadership team. The mentor will arrange regular meetings in order to; offer support and guidance, discuss any issues, or help you to focus on particular areas of development. This is the first year that HR have had any placements or graduates, so there is room for improvement in this area, however there were constant improvements throughout the year in order to ensure we were given the support we needed.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
As with most placement years there will be fluctuations in busy periods. There were a few times throughout the year that there wasn't any work that I could support or help with. However line managers encouraged me to use any quiet periods to look at areas for development (Training courses, 1 to 1 sessions, career planning/progression) or to research around a project in order to give some valid input.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given full responsibility on many of the projects I was involved in. Managers and colleagues are always available for support but I was trusted to complete the work like any other employee. We also had a project solely for the graduates, with our ideas and suggestions implemented at the end of it.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I was encouraged to sign up for as many training courses and development activities as possible throughout my year. The things I have learned will help me during my final year of study and will be hugely beneficial throughout my career. Many of these courses will be put onto my CV as the skills acquired will be attractive to any prospective employers.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
There is a very good balance in the office. The atmosphere was positive with many colleagues sharing jokes and enjoying the work environment.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The set up was organised and all phone and laptop arrangements had taken place prior to my first day, which allowed me to be involved from day 1. This was however the first year that HR had received any placements or graduates so in some areas the structure was a work in progress. Throughout the year improvements were put in place and as a result of feedback provided the structure going forwards will be even better.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company invested everything they possibly could into my training and development. I was actively encouraged to look online for training courses and any development opportunities of interest. I was allowed the time to partake in these and as a result I would fully recommend Network Rail as a place to work.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Future employment opportunities at the company are very appealing. As a result of my year within Network Rail I have had many development opportunities and these are in place for permanent employees too.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The company employs lots of graduates and placement students. As a result there is a good social scene, and there are very regular activities after work to be involved in. There are also many social clubs and networks that you can be involved in. I found a team in the 6-a-side Network Rail football league on a Monday night. There are other opportunities such as joining the snow sports society which meets every fortnight to ski or snowboard in the Milton Keynes snow dome.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
During my year I lived with Family in the area. The cost of socialising was neither expensive nor cheap.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife in the area is fairly poor. Milton Keynes is very quiet at night time.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
You are entitled to 5 volunteer days which allows you to take time off work to volunteer for a registered charity and to give back to the community. There are also many other activities such as sports or societies which would meet on a regular basis after work.