Administrative role, helping with logisitics and planning for the NCS summer programme delivered by The Challenge.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The Programme Administrator summer role had a large workload but was manageable with strong time management skills. There was a good variety of work from printing and filing to more physical work in the store-room, so it was good to not be sat at a desk all day. Overall, I really enjoyed the role and would recommend it to a student looking for a well-paid summer job.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The regional teams are really close and they're always willing to help whenever you have any questions or are confused. Good work is always praised and I have always been thanked for going the extra mile with a piece of work or helping out with something beyond my responsibility. There's also a really sociable feeling to the office which is great.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Everyone is so friendly and willing to help no matter how busy they are. I have yet to meet anyone who is unfriendly or intimidating and there is always support available for when you need it. Unfortunately I don't have one to one meetings with my manager which is a shame as this would really help my personal development and develop a stronger relationship with my manager.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Every day is really busy, which can be really overwhelming when you first start as there is a lot of jargon and procedure to get your head around. Once you've settled in though it gets much more manageable and you learn the best ways of getting things done. No two days were the same which means the job isn't boring at all.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The Programme Administrator role helps make everyone else's job easier. So although there isn't a huge amount of accountability or responsibility, it is a really crucial role for the smooth running of the programmes. There is, however, a clear task list that outlines for each day which jobs need doing which helps you to keep on top of what needs doing.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The time management skills have been invaluable with my university work. It's also made me much more confident at speaking to new people, as the role involved a lot of time spent on the phone and asking questions when you were stuck to people that you don't know that well.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere is so, so great. Everyone is always chatting away and as long as your work gets done, everyone is really laid back. You're also allowed to manage your own time, so there's no micro-management or signing in/out which is so unusual in a large organisation. Everyone eats lunch together too which is really nice and everyone makes the effort to say 'hello' to any new members of staff.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
We weren't given very relevant or specific question when we started the role, which ended up being okay as the best way of learning is on the job. Apart from that, the role is really well set up as there is a clear task list which outlines every job which needs to be done each day, by which person and outlines the relevant documents/contact details.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We have yet to receive any extra personal training or development beyond the day-to-day role. It would be good to have a bit more responsibility or the opportunity to shadow another member of staff for a day. The company is, however, very passionate about their staff and their welfare so it's easy enough to ask if you'd like to learn something new or want something changing.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
There were no perks with
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
This role has been great for developing my CV and equipping me with skills that will be invaluable for future jobs in any sector. The future employment prospects at The Challenge are very appealing for anyone wanting to work with young people, passionate about social action and seeing change in society.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
We Programme Administrator's all started together and bonded really well. Even though we now all work in different regions within the office, we still regularly go to each other when we are stuck and eat lunch together. It's a really easy office to arrange social events because everyone is so friendly and outgoing.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I study in Birmingham so already had a student house ready to live in. Living is fairly reasonable in Birmingham and there are plenty of shared houses you can live in. Public transport in the area is also really great and not too expensive if you get a travel pass (I pay £54.50 for a month's bus travel). The cost of socialising is also fairly reasonable given the size of the city, and is much cheaper than living in London.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Birmingham is a great city for whatever kind of nightlife suits you. There's Broad Street for the big bars and clubs, but there are also lots of really individual cocktail bars and restaurants in the city centre if you want something a bit quieter. Going out in Birmingham isn't too expensive either and there is something for everyone, whether you like drinking or staying sober.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Our team went on a day out to do some volunteering at a local canal which was great fun and really helped the team bond. Apart from that, given the business of the summer, we haven't really done anything. The Programme Administrators are encouraged to get out to different parts of the programme which is great because otherwise it can get a bit boring being in the office all day everyday.