1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed my internship a lot. The work I was doing was interesting and what I’ve done will actually have an impact on the business. On top of this, Standard Life set the internship programme up so that you have a network of other interns there to support you, and to have fun with.
I’m from England, had never been to Edinburgh and knew no one here. But I made so many friends through the internship network, and had a genuinely fun summer – both inside and out of work.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The work I was doing was very real and what I’ve done is actually being used to engage clients and colleagues. My team were also very nice – everyone went out of their way to make me feel a part of something and to make sure I knew what I was doing.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My support system was very large. I had a person on the graduate programme (a “buddy”) for peer support who I met with whenever I needed; my manager, who was in my team and would support me with my every day work and also with my development, and the stream head for the marketing internship who I met with fortnightly to talk about the bigger picture and how I was getting on generally.
Whenever I needed support from anyone, I had someone. And if any of my “go-to” people weren’t there, my team were there to support me instead.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I didn’t have one specific project (like some other interns) so it varied day to day. When we were trying to deliver something big with a short deadline I could be quite busy, but sometimes it’d be a bit slower. However, I never had nothing to do, and if I found myself in that position my team were more than happy to give me work to do.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
A lot more responsibility than I ever expected. I was given access to social media accounts that I had to tweet from – something clients would see within seconds. I did work on websites and made content that clients would see and ran events for colleagues. Whilst I was given help if I asked for it, it was very much about me seeing if I could do it on my own. It was my task to do, and the responsibility was on me.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I study chemistry and my internship was in marketing, so they aren’t heavily related. However I developed a lot of transferable skills. By having to talk in meetings and present multiple times to interns, people in my team, heads of departments and CEOs I’ve developed my confidence massively. We also had to set personal development goals at the start of the internship as well – one of mine was to improve my written communication skills. My manager then facilitated this development and gave me every opportunity to do this.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Very relaxed. We never saw clients so the dress code was smart casual (with the emphasis more on casual). Whilst I was here we had a team night out and did fun activities - away days are very common. We also ran a lot of building-wide competitions, for example we had a mini Olympics with events like rhythmic gymnastics (hula hooping), javelin (paper airplane throwing) and decorating our area like the country we picked out of a hat.
The atmosphere is just very fun and friendly.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The overall internship structure included one intern development opportunity a week, a charity challenge halfway through and plenty of other events that show the HR department know how to structure the internship well.
My specific placement was less structured and organised but I always had things to do, and I knew what I would be doing for the near future.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I think they’ve invested a lot in us – we’ve had a lot of personal development days and we’ve done tasks aimed at finding out what our strengths are.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Very appealing. I think if you want the grad job and you make this known, you're likely to get the grad job. There’s a lot of opportunity once you’re on the graduate scheme as well – there’s a development plan for young people the business want to fast track into upper management, a young person’s network and a lot of other opportunity to progress your career.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Great – a couple of days before we arrived in Edinburgh, a HR intern was told to set up a Facebook page, and we were all encouraged to mingle. Anyone that didn’t have accommodation in Edinburgh was put up in a block of apartments (2 to a flat), so a lot of us lived together and would hang out after work and on the weekends. Standard Life gave us budget for some social activities (we chose to go to a ceilidh), but otherwise we all just did things together. We genuinely made friends.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The accommodation we were put in was paid for by Standard Life, and we were paid living wage – so everyone had enough money to live very comfortably. The Fringe festival is on in August so a lot of money was spent on that, but there are so many free shows – if you didn’t want to spend much money you didn’t have to.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Living in central Edinburgh it was great – but central Edinburgh during the Fringe was amazing. There’s always something to do – if you like clubbing there are clubs, if you prefer chilling in a pub or bar there’s that too – there were so many different types of acts on. The nightlife was amazing.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are football leagues and as I was leaving a softball league was set up too. Maybe there were more opportunities, but because I didn't want to look for them I didn't find them. The intern activity feed always had some event or club on it, but I never really researched it further.