1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The experience was intense working on the waves but really enjoyable. The atmosphere created heavily relies on the staff teams relationships and attitudes. There was a lot of work and late nights which is okay as long as you can rely on the other people working around you. Loved the structure of the three weeks and the continuity of developing one group throughout that period.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt like family within the team of workers on the waves. However I felt very distant from the higher up managers and permanent staff. There were some feedback excercises for staff where we all highlighted good points and bad points on each other which I felt slightly demoralising. Being asked at the end of the wave to point out everyone's bad points was a bit too much and felt like ending on a low.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
This very much depended on the waves. I felt the management sometimes only acknowledged failures or had negatives to point out but never encouraged positives or when things went right. The wave leader role was very important and meant that every wave was run differently as they weren't really given a strict way to run the waves. I felt the PL role was great management above that felt very distant and negative. Introductions to managers were poor and I didn't know what everyone's roles were or who to report to.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I felt very busy on a daily basis. I felt like I had little to no time to myself on the residential which was hard having never met the other staff members before. It would be really helpful to meet other staff members before hand. There was never any time where I was doing nothing. In fact I felt the days were long and busy. I was part of a large wave though which meant there was always lots to do. I felt some of the program leaders didn't end up doing as much as they could but again this was really dependant on individuals.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I felt extremely responsible for my group pastorally. Which I think could be made more clear in the job description. The role is highly pastoral and needs caring individuals. The addition of experts in the skills or outdoor professionals does lighten the load during the days but a proper system of Rita's is needed to cover the residential nights because it was all a bit make do on the nights.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Managing groups of young people was perfect for me as that is what I now do for a job. The experience developing a group for such a long period is almost unique outside of academia. I also work in the outdoors so the experiences I had with NCS were perfect for me. The training however was minimal but that's what I expected. I learnt more through the experience and doing more than one wave was hugely beneficial having that extra time to try different techniques of group management.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere really depended on the staff in each team. I was very lucky to have really good teams. This rubbed off on the young people and meant that they had a great experience. I think there was a good job done on selecting leaders from a cross section of society. But the atmospheres in the two waves I worked on were very different so the young people had very different experiences.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The staffing was very unorganised. I didn't know what waves I was working till very late and the training was a nightmare to arrange. I know this is difficult with so many staff being hired. I also found the higher up management didn't know much about our overall itinery until very late. Our partners changed last minute and we were forced to be very flexible.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The training given was not in much depth at all and could have really done with covering the general set up or structure of waves in more detail. Part of the training would have been excellent if we met up with the team we were going to work with but I really did appreciate some flexibility in what dates I could attend training.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I'm really disappointed there was no full time employment options leading groups or continuing in school or out of school development for the young people. I would have definitely got involved in any position which still involved working directly with groups of young people year round. Unfortunately the seasonal nature of NCS meant the opportunities weren't there for me personally.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
All being young and enthusiastic seasonal employees meant the social and fun side of working on the waves was perfect. Though I would have liked to have seen some kind of staff reunions organised for waves automatically or some kind of network put in place for us to all keep in contact then we would have even been more likely to come back and work for NCS again.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I did feel we had little to no time to ourselves as a staff team during the residential sections of the waves. It was however hugely positive that all food was covered during the wave and provides a rare employment opportunity where students can vacate their student rooms and work at the same time. That was very helpful
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Obviously the nightlife wasn't really relevant in this case at all because we were either residential or starting work early on the non residential days. I'm not sure why this is on here but the nightlife in reading was okay the one time I went out there. The purple turtle was my favourite bar. Though I'm not a big drinker.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes again this was very dependent on what staff you ended up working with. I would like to see a more structured opportunity for social meet ups with staff during or after the waves. Or even meet ups or contact details shared before the waves so people can build that fun energy and relationship before working with the groups.