1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Absolutely loved it!
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt especially valued by my colleagues, everyone was very welcoming and helpful. I was a full part of the team my main project was aligned with as well as another project I did additional work for. The AZ Youth group were very welcoming and really proactive in organising interesting work related activities, such as insights into other departments and social activities.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My supervisor gave excellent support when necessary, particularly at the beginning of my placement, but also encouraged me to work independently and answer my own scientific questions. He gave brilliant work related feedback and scheduled reflection sessions to cover what worked well and not so well, significantly helping my professional development.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Day to day I was always busy. I was given full responsibility for my own project and after some time full responsibility for two other assays. There was always lots of challenging and interesting work to do, but I was not overworked. AstraZeneca pushes use of flexi-time and there is an excellent work life balance.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was entirely responsible for my own project and the progress made was up to me to push for it. However I was given full support where needed and several members of the team contributed significantly. After some time full responsibility for two other assays where I was accountable for the standard of work; laboratory work and analysis.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
During my placement I have developed extensive laboratory and scientific experience, which has improved my university work portion of my masters. In regards to personal and professional development, I have learnt more than I thought possible. My experiences on this placement significantly contributed to gaining a prestigious graduate position a year before graduation.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The general atmosphere was friendly and open. I worked in an open plan office of about twenty people, so there was always people around to ask questions or go with for coffee. The area was quiet and work focused, which I liked. At fika and lunch everyone was always very friendly and welcoming.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Induction was very well organised and the integration into AZ Youth was important as it gave me a group of people my age, especially as I had moved to a new city and country. I was given all the support needed and all necessary training was well organised and I was made aware of it well in advance. My supervisor and line manager had drafted a well thought out plan for the years' work and had regular meetings with them both, independently and together, to report progess and any issues (none!) I had along the way.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
AZ invested in my work significantly. They provided all the resources necessary for me to carry out, as well as improve, the tasks I was responsible for. They provided for me to attend and present at a conference. In almost all manners I was treated as a permanent member of staff.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I have been offered a permanent position with another company which offers a programme more suited to my particular interests, so I will not be staying with AstraZeneca in the upcoming few years. However, I have been seriously impressed by experience with AZ and the company’s ethos. If there was a suitable position available in the coming years, I would jump at the chance to come back and work for AstraZeneca.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was a very active social group combining the placement students, graduate students, PhD students and some other young members of staff.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
High becuase I was based in Gothenburg, Sweden - but completely managable on the salary provided.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
At the work site, quite little as it was a little outside of town. However, twenty minutes away by bus/tram in the city centre (where most people lived) there was a very active night life. After work (4-7pm dinner and drinks) were very common and cheaper than usual. In the summer everyone would take a BBQ to the central park and play games etc. There were loads of bars and lots of night clubs too.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Plenty of social groups, such as a hiking society and photography society. Christmas party and group socials were organsied. Several trips to other AZ sites were also available.