1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I could not have asked for a better internship opportunity, The HR team I worked within enhanced my experience by exposing me to many opportunities I do not believe I would have gained if within another role or company. My role varied day to day from HR administration tasks to project management.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
From my first day my team were extremely welcoming and made an effort to introduce me to as many other colleagues as possible. I believe that working within a small team allowed me to form close relationships with my colleagues, both working and personal. I never felt like I was treated like the 'intern' as my thoughts were always listened to. Additionally, I never felt like I could not ask someone for help, whether that be someone from within my department or a different department or plant.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Full support and guidance was given throughout the duration of the placement. Everyone at Plant Swindon always seemed willing to help one another with any tasks, whether that be to give information or coming to events to support the success. Moreover, many of my tasks meant that I had to use my own initiative although I knew that I could always ask for support if needed.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was always able to keep myself busy, however how busy you were was dependent on projects. If I ever felt that I did not have something to do, one of my colleagues could normally delegate some work. However, if I felt that I had to much work, my colleagues would always offer support where possible. The team were always kept busy and I was involved daily in team and individual based tasks.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Throughout my placement I was given a lot more responsibility than I initially thought. From my first week I was given responsibility over several tasks. As my placement progressed I was given project management roles where I would have to lead in meetings or presentations. The amount of responsibility constantly given increased my confidence significantly. Some of the tasks I was given responsibility over I believe would not have been given if within another company. If I were to complete the placement again I would want to have more exposure to the operational side of HR.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Having never worked in an office environment before my placement gave me a great idea of what working life will be really like. I believe my computer literacy has considerably improved through daily use of Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word and Access, as well as HR programmes such as SAP. I was able to attend several training sessions from Oxford, Hams Hall and Swindon HR workshops and also external seminars which made me a lot more aware of different things that can surface in the workplace. Overall, I believe that all the opportunities I experienced will be value adding to all future experiences. I believe now I real be able to adapt real life experiences into my academic work.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
There was always a good atmosphere in the office and although I was working in a professional environment, people would always be willing to talk if you needed support and everyone could have laugh. Everyone in the office bounced off each other. The relationship between the HR department and others within the business was very good where associates felt that they could also come into the office to talk and ask for assistance with any problems.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
From my first day there were several planned projects for me to work on individually and within a team. Due to being the first intern at Plant Swindon, I think that my team did not know exactly what I would be able to get involved in and did not have pre-planned tasks for me to get involved in. Instead, as tasks came up, my supervisor would identify where I could get involved and tried to expose me to as many opportunities as possible, even work with senior management.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was invited to the majority of HR workshops as were the other HR interns from different plants. However my manager and supervisor took me to many training seminars both internally and externally that I know other interns did not have the opportunity to do. Additionally, my supervisor encouraged me to complete the equality and diversity training which senior management were also completing. I felt that my team invested as much as they could in me.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would be extremely interested in applying for a graduate HR position. Although I would love to return to working at Swindon, currently they have never had HR graduates. The graduate programme gives individuals exposure to the entire business and allows graduates to work in a various different roles in different location which is something that would really interest me. However I know it is very competitive to achieve a place on the scheme.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Due to Swindon only having about 3 placement students who never interacted the social scene for students was poor. There was encourangement for the Oxford and Swindon interns to try and do something together due to Oxford's big student scence, however this never happened. However there was a good social scene in my team.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Due to commuting from home to Swindon I did not experience the cost of living in Swindon, but I assume it is slightly cheaper than Oxford. My team went for work meals where I found out about some great independent restaurants and bars I will definitely be returning to.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Due to not living in the area I would go for nights out in Oxford with friends from home. I would encourange any other interns to try to visit Oxford for a night out, however I know my team enjoy going out to bars in Swindon.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were lots of activites outside of work to get involved in such as the marathon, walking football and also the Family Fun Day on the weekend which is greatly anticipated by associates.