1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I had a really enjoyable year, sometimes people can be under the illusion that due to the fact it's such a renowned and large multinational organisation, that as an intern or placement year student you'll be somewhat irrelevant. Not at L'Oreal. I lived in Cardiff too, which is obviously a different ball park to London, but it's an amazing city, that always has something going on, not too dissimilar from London. It was also a good insight into the working world, and a nice way to break up my degree.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I was in Corporate Finance, more specifically Accounts Payable, and we were a small team numbering only 9. There was a real sense of worth though, everyone was always willing to help someone else in the team, and helpfulness did not go unnoticed.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager was always at hand over the course of my placement to assist me wherever possible. Naturally, as the year went on, I was seeking more work, and to take on new tasks, so I needed to be shown the ropes so to speak. But it's not just my own manager, in my office there are 4 managers in total, and I can safely say that they are all extremely supportive and willing to offer assistance, should you need it.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Every single day can be different. I had my set roles and responsibilities that were outlined on my first day last year, but there are always more things you can be doing. It's definitely a company that wants you to go above and beyond the line of duty, and to show a bit of diligence. I was more than happy to take on more work as and when I could, and providing you maintain good levels of organisation, it's not an issue being busy.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a fair amount right from the start, and this increased as the nature of my role became more substantial. It's a good feeling, knowing that you have responsibilities within such a large company, a market leader in more ways than one, and knowing that what you do actually matters.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The two are definitely interlinked. I study a banking and finance degree, and I worked in accounts. Some of what I studied in accountancy modules definitely paid dividends over the course of the year, and for sure, some of what I have learnt whilst working for the company, will assist me in my final year of study.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Always very lively in a manner of speaking, the office is very small with under 40 employees, and a vast range of ages. But it was extremely friendly and welcoming from day one, and I can't have any complaints about that really.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement was well organised and well monitored. I knew what I would be doing from day 1, and was having monthly progress reports/meetings with my manager, in addition to 3 reviews across the year that were recorded.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
They were always keen to assist me if I wanted to further my knowledge and learning, and my role within the company. They really rate ambition, and are happy when people want to stand out from the crowd.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Extremely. The L'Oreal Management Trainee Graduate Scheme is extremely sought after. It offers you the opportunity to become a manager within the company after 3 years, which for most graduates will mean by the age of 24/25, you'll be a manager of a brand or division within the company.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
In my office, the social scene was not what I had hoped for. The majority of my fellow employees were a bit older, married or had children etc. And there was only one other intern in my office. However, I know that in London, the social scene is brilliant.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cardiff is extremely cheap to live. It's a heavily populated student city that doesn't have a large population anyway. Standard rent, depending on where you live, or whether you choose to live with students, will range between £250-£400 a month including bills. In terms of the city itself and socialising, it's cheaper than London, and yet it has everything you can ask for really. Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Shops and so on. Most I've ever paid for a pint is about £4.50, and that was an expensive bar.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Nightlife is pretty good. There are copious amounts of bars in the centre of the city. There are a range of night clubs too, from standard not-so-glamorous student clubs, funnily enough the best one is called Glam, to more local tailored clubs. I can't say I've ever had a bad night out in Cardiff.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Wales is rugby mad, and now I'd also go as far as saying football mad. There are an almost unlimited number of sports clubs you can get involved in. There's a lot of live sport on a regular basis, Cardiff has a football team, a rugby team, and cricket team, and of course the Millennium Stadium.