1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Although I enjoyed the placement as a whole I do believe the programme lacked structure and numerous promises were not fulfilled. The programme gave me a solid insight to working within an IT organization and I learnt a lot of new skills, developed existing ones and expanded my professional network. There is extremely little in terms of rotation opportunities and very little is given by the company to help with team building. We were offered nights out, expenses paid trips but nothing came from this. The 'Intern Committee' is held at a different site and only consists of interns from that particular site and they decide how the Intern reward pot is delegated which is unfortunately unfairly.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I joined the organization with little to no technical experience. I was trained up to a good standard by my colleagues and my ideas were always welcomed. Despite being far out of my comfort zone my team. I was always felt valued by members of my team and every individual I met at my site.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was always given support and opportunities for personal and professional development were always available. I was put through an ITIL foundation course teaching my the basics of IT best practices and processes and there was a large network of people available to be to teach me new skills and develop old ones - both soft skills and technical skills.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Up until the very end of my placement I was consistently busy - but in a good sense, not in a rushed off my feet with not enough hours in the day sense. As my placement went on though the workload did decrease as a result of continuous automation and process improvement. There was always opportunities to fill any vacant time though volunteering work or helping on other projects throughout the organization to keep me busy.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was often given a lot of responsibility, whether it was monitoring a huge project all by myself or being the single point of contact for senior management in relation to projects and my application. In advance of this, I regularly helped organisze large scale events which were attended by international figures within the organization and similarly sized events which hundreds of people attended including MPs and other important people within the community.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I often volunteered myself to do any tasks I felt I could contribute towards including guest speaking, project leading and helping out with company events. Being involved in these types of projects massively improved my soft skills - regular presentations and consistently meeting new people will be extremely beneficial to my degree and any future career. Furthermore, I learnt an abundance of new technical skills including SQL, PowerShell, Linux and more which will help me in my future career hunts.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere as a whole was very relaxed, no shouting or blaming and managers don't sit in fancy offices - just on a table like the rest of us. Everyone is talkative and friendly and the atmosphere as a whole is very good. Although like any office things can get tense and stressful at times but on the whole a nice and generally relaxing place to work
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement when I joined was very well organised with a clear structure but we were miss sold on some things including rotation, shadowing opportunities and company funding for social events. Once your initial 2 weeks on boarding process has been completed you're put in your teams where you will likely spend the next 12 months. There is a lot of performance tracking, monthly and quarterly reviews.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company put every employee through an ITIL Foundation v3 qualification as standard - but for interns there is VERY little in terms of professional - certified - development. I'm not sure outside of the generic ITIL qualification that any intern was given access to a professional qualification in their time here. You are free to pick up things from other team members but in terms of actual financial investment in quantifiable professional development there is very little.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I'm sure there will be opportunities in the future for work but at the moment it's a very grey area for post placement employment.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
As stated before - the social scene is very much what you make of it, if you're an outgoing person and get on with others you work with you can go out as much as you were in your first year of university. Just don't expect any favours from the company to ensure this happens. There is no company funded nights out or any company funded social events - you're just on your own.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
It is very possible to get accommodation under £80 p/w within 1.5 miles of the office. Since the office is very accessible from the city centre the cost of living can be as high as you are willing to pay. Some people enjoy the lovely views of the Tyne and Quayside for ~£150 p/w whilst others live in the highly student populated areas of Jesmond or Heaton for around half of that.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The company very rarely contributed (if ever) to the nightlife and social experience on the placement. However, since we were located in Newcastle it's easier than ever to enjoy a good night out. It is truly what you make of it - don't expect any help or favours from the organization. I was lucky enough to have made good friends with a number of people I worked with to allow me to go out as regularly as I wanted.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are countless opportunities to get involved with activities outside of your day to day role. The company issues an hour per week to help with voluntary work (or more at your mangers discretion). The company are always looking at improving their standing within the local community and reaching out to the large community. There are a large number of charities we work very closely with and there is a huge emphasis on helping boost IT engagement on a local and national level.