This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.
Working at Lighthouse has brought so much enthusiasm into my placement year, I have had the opportunity to learn and develop new skills within IT and the manufacturing sector. The level of growth I have seen in myself over the past year has been down to the amount of effort Lighthouse put into making me excel all expectations set by myself. I have had the opportunity to work with some high respected customers within the manufacturing sector, whilst building relationships with key figures in those businesses.
The amount of support that is offered by Lighthouse has made me feel like I wasn't even on a placement year. I was able to progress to a higher level each and every week, progressing my skills and being able to talk to my manager and colleagues if needed help. Every birthday, Lighthouse gathers all employees during the day for a celebration where cake is provided and we are able to talk with fellow employees. Lighthouse prides its self in having an us mentality not I as they want US to all excel in everything we do. Praise is not held back at Lighthouse - as directors expressed their gratitude for the hard work I put in over the year.
Regularly mentoring meetings were held between myself and another member of staff where we were able to discuss informally any worries I may have had. Any goals I set for myself were monitored and discussed on how to improve for my progression throughout the year. Never was there a time when I was refused help or guidance, even if a colleague was busy they would take time out of their day to sit down and talk me through any problems I had resolving an issue. From the extensive 8-week training course when we arrived, to monthly mentor meetings, learning lunches where you had the opportunity to go and learn another aspect of the business. Lighthouse also provide an extensive level of documentation that can aid your development when learning about key customers.
Right from the beginning to the end of my placement, I always had something to do. The 8-week training course was taught at a high pace whether it be listening or going away and attacking tasks set by the teachers head on. I quickly adapted to the Lighthouse methodology whereby a sense of forward thinking was needed. After training I was given a select number of customers who are were my main focus for the year, these customers kept me busy throughout whether it to do with Support, Projects, Implementation or even writing up requirements. If I were running low on tasks, speaking to my line manager I was always given more work to keep myself busy on a daily basis. There was also a section called 'SFA' which is seen as tasks Spec'd For Anyone. OR - If too busy, letting my line manager know they would access the priorities and delegate tasks to others if necessary.
I felt over the year, as my confidence grew I was given more and more responsibility. After training, choosing my customers I was asked to take over support from the previous student after a day of shadowing. Support calls could come by any means but mainly; telephone or email. I think each customer has different demands and depending on these can determine the amount of responsibility thrown towards you. I personally feel I was pushed to achieve the best I possible could by having the opportunity to roll out a number of projects which are now used within a number of manufacturing sites all around the world. This involved researching a change, designing what was needed, writing the requirements, implementing and testing showing the full progress of a task. I was the sole contact for my customers and so they relied on me heavily to help resolve issues they may have had.
Throughout my year with Lighthouse I have learnt a vast amount that I can take away and apply to my final year at university. I have worked heavily with C# and SQL whilst being introduced to VB. Having the responsibility that I had, I was able to improve my programming skills as I was given a major project to develop a C# Event Based Actions Script that would raise a required check upon such events being triggered. My overall confidence has allowed me to carry myself a lot higher and conduct any business meetings with a cognitive way of thinking. I was very nervous when answering my first phone and now I can't wait to answer the next to help a customer resolve their issue.
Lighthouse have a strong company culture, with employee communication, collaboration, wellness and performance all rolled into one. You are surrounded by talented and dedicated employees who are willing to work that little bit more to gain a lot more experience. You could describe Lighthouse as one big family, as everyone knows each other creating a relaxed and informal business setting. The office was quiet at times, but this was down to hard work and concentration more than a lack of atmosphere.
The overall flow of the year was set up very well I thought, myself and other students were brought in and briefed about what the year would entail. Each week within training we were taught by someone within the business who was seen as a specialist in the area they were teaching. We were given tasks after each section and once taking onto the support desk I felt I knew my place for the year. I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to stay on until the end of the summer which allowed me to witness the preparation Lighthouse put into their new students and how they felt training needed to be updated to carry with the changing in times and technology.
As mentioned before, straight away I was put into an extensive 8 week training course where I was introduced to Shopfloor Online which is the product Lighthouse internally produce. Along with other skills like C#, SQL, general support and much more. Lighthouse also offered the ability to attend various learning lunches which were aimed to either give employees more information on future developments in the product or another member of the company would present and teach others about another aspect within the company. Along with daily help from colleagues I was also given the opportunity to attend workshops after work which could help improve my C#, VB, SQL or any other skill present within Lighthouse. I was also given the training to then go away and represent Lighthouse on multiple occasions at careers fairs. Promoting the company in universities like Loughborough, Brighton and Sussex
Working from home
Lighthouse look like a great prospect for the future, a high majority of employees started as placement students and returned to be offered a place after graduating form university. I live locally around the area so it would be a great opportunity to stay local and near friends, the only reason I wouldn't return would be to move away from home and explore other opportunities.
Students along with fellow employees went out several times during my placement. Every Friday we would go to the pub after work where we could discuss the week ahead. Regularly I would receive invitations to see work colleagues for a social event whether it be a poker night, going bowling, going to a restaurant or the cinema. Also - many colleagues had the opportunity to house share for the year.
The surrounding town Crawley is an up and coming town with a high population which promotes for both expensive and cheap accommodation. I was living at home, so rent was cheap but in terms of the opportunities that you have are great. Of course living down south can be seen as expensive but with the use of a student card you are able to have a discounted price and a wide variety of amenities.
Crawley is situated halfway between Brighton and London and so you have the choice of two major nightlife areas along with the surrounding towns like East Grinstead or Reigate. In terms of Crawley its self, it has slowly improved over the years which has allowed for more and more nightlife options. There are two main clubs (Moka and 6 Degrees) whilst having a wide variety of pubs and bars down the high street which is located between the two.
The opportunities were available if wanted to get involved. Before arriving at Lighthouse I was apart of a 6a-side football team at university and so when arriving I set up a 6-a-side with fellow employees where we represented Lighthouse. Myself and others played squash twice a week before work, along with the opportunity to go to the gym after work with others.
Placement Year (10 Months+)