1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
In my opinion a good company overall to do a placement year at, helped by the internal culture. The core work can often become repetitive but in my instance I have also been given the opportunity to frame placement and choose which extra projects I work on. There are lots of placements which means there are a lot of social activities outside of work (organised by ourselves).
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Placements are clearly a vital resource for JnJ and their effort is seen to be appreciated by colleagues; however, there seems to be a culture of often neglecting time for placements when working cross-functionally and it can be a barrier to getting things done. I think the majority of placements would say they feel very valued by their direct team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
There is a structure to the development though I would have appreciated more support and feedback from my manager. Saying this the management within JnJ is very friendly and doesn't seem very hierarchical when speaking to higher ranking colleagues. If asked I am sure most managers would set aside time and sit down to talk about any issues.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Workload can vary massively and I have found that some weeks I am crammed with tasks and others are less busy. I guess that can be the case in any role though! I have found that busier days go quicker and are more enjoyable. At the start of the placement when learning everything from scratch it could be quiet alien and hence I was very busy learning the core tasks.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
With colleagues recognising placement opinions it does provide responsibility. I feel it would be better if JnJ gave placements exposure to higher level projects to really stretch what they can provide to the company. Saying this, there is a lot of trust invested in placements, and there are many occasions to see your work translate into something material.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Specifically to JnJ the informal culture means that you can ask a lot of questions without an issue. Trainings seem to have been cut back recently and there have been a lot of strategy changes so future programmes may shape differently. I think HR could provide support here for cross-functional learning.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It is certainly a very relaxed atmosphere at JnJ. There are many 'breakout' tables which facilitate impromptu and casual meetings. I like that you are able to just walk over to a colleague and discuss something with them instantly if necessary, rather than it seeming unheard of. You can often find something going on in the office, be it a charity event or a bit of fun and games.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Between accepting the job offer and joining JnJ there seemed to be very little organisation and incoming placements were not provided with much information. The handover period was well put together and gave time to get to grips with everything new. During the year there doesn't seem to be much specific placement structure which is disappointing (i.e. chances to see work in other sectors).
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Personal training and development seems to be a bit sporadic and there doesn't seem to be a specific plan for placement students in this regard. Saying this, the general working day allows for a great amount of personal development and I have definitely learnt a lot while working at Johnson & Johnson over the course of the year.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
Healthcare from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Good prospects but for the grad scheme you still have to go through an assessment center which seems like a lot extra work considering you've worked there for a year
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Definitely a good social scene with other placement students, though none of this is facilitated by JnJ. The benefit is at the Maidenhead campus there are over 20 placements meaning that there's always something going on at the weekends, or after work. Activities as a team seem to be pretty rare and I think this is a downside to the company.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Quite expensive as near London
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Not a great nightlife, however there are lots of places to visit in the area to go out. London is a short train journey away which is a good bonus. My placement year organised quite a few house parties which gets around the nightlife situation! Nice pubs in the area for weekends and sunny weather :)
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?