1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my year working at TUI travel. You are given so much responsibility which is scary at first but really helps you learn quickly and makes you feel a proper member of the team. You will solely be responsible for looking after a specific destination(s) which we travel to, and it is your responsibility to manage all aspects of it in your particular department. Work is hard but enjoyable and as there is always something to do I never felt like I was twiddling my thumbs.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt like a proper member of the team from day one. A lot of colleagues are quite young too which helps you fit in, but from every level I felt valued and important. The placement scheme is really highly regarded around the business and this shows.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
You will be designated a line manager who you will work under for the whole year. They will guide you on a day to day basis in terms of how to do your actual job, and they will also manage your development by having regular catchups regarding your progress and how to improve. There is a very open feedback culture at TUI which meant that I always knew what I needed to focus on and improve. Sometimes I found as my manager was so experienced they found it difficult to simply explain the basics of the job to me when I first started, however there are plenty of people around the team to ask so I always felt supported.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The business of my role in trading varied throughout the year. Overall I was always busy however certain periods are manic, such as January and April, and then November and March were particularly quiet. This reflects busy booking periods for holidays. We also complete 3 extra placement projects alongside our day to day jobs and when we had these workload ramped up and meant you had to be very organised to fit everything into 9-5.30pm.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given so much responsibility - as I mentioned above you will be personally responsible for a geographical area and although you have your managers support it is you who is in charge of making decisions for this destination/resort and so when you consider the monetary value that you are looking after in terms of profitability of each resort, you will realise how much responsibility you have! I really enjoyed this and it made me feel valued.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I think the skills I learnt will be invaluable when I go back to university. I have had the chance to do presentations to board members and this has drastically improved my presentation skills and my confidence. I have also learnt how to manage my time effectively and how to juggle and prioritise tasks. I hope when I go back to university I will also benefit from the commercial acumen that I have gained and hopefully this will help me put theory into context in my lectures.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in the office is great! It is definitely a work hard and play hard culture but there is always a lot of work chatter and atmosphere and we definitely don't sit in silence. There is an open culture in terms of discussing strategy etc. TUI are also really good at rewarding hard work and so we often have mini award events where there will be food and drinks in the office and things such as pimms being brought round to celebrate Wimbledon and being allowed to watch the Euros and Olympics in the office on big screens.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement scheme is so well set up. It is run by people who work in the commercial department and so they really understand your role and your expectations, rather than it just being run by people from HR. We had regular catch ups with the placement scheme leader and there is a dedicated Learning and Development team who run monthly meetings for you where we have debates about issues in the travel industry, we discuss placement projects and have guest speakers to improve certain things ie presentation skills.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I felt like we were invested in a lot. There were regular half day sessions to find out about other areas of the business called the 'Tour Operator Development Programme' and as a placement you are allowed to spent 4 half days in other departments which you are interested in. There are also the placement learning and development opportunities as mentioned above.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
As TUI is a large FTSE100 company there is naturally lots of opportunities for the future. Firstly as a placement you are automatically fast tracked to the assessment centre stage of the grad scheme if you choose to. There is also the opportunity to come back to your existing role if you impress your managers, and also there are always lots of internal vacancies in other departments.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The social scene at TUI is really good, not just between the placement but all staff as many staff are pretty young and so always ups for doing something. Most work socialising takes place in London or St Albans and there are regular Thursday nights out, team days out and things organised such as rounders and TUIlympics.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Luton is cheap! Luton gets a bad press but one good point is that it is 30mins on the train to London but rent is much cheaper than the capital! I rent a room in a really modern shared house on a nice estate in North Luton, around 3 miles from work and I pay £350 a month. However the social and town scene in Luton is not great so people tend to go to St Albans and London which are naturally more expensive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
As per the above Luton does not have much going on but St Albans and London are great and are so easy to get to.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yeh there are loads of opportunities. There is a TUI netball team which you can join and regular cricket and football games organised for you to join. There are also things organised for colleagues such as free trial of military fitness at work and guest speakers coming in to talk to colleagues.