As an assurance associate in the Corporate audit department, my role was to work as a member of the audit team on an array of corporate audit engagements. My placement year effectively mirrored that of the first year on the PwC graduate scheme, and therefore when out at client sites, I was expected to perform the same level of work as the first year graduate intake. This predominately involved auditing the areas of treasury, fixed assets, and payroll. The job required good communication skills in order to communicate effectively with the client, whilst I also had to be prepared to take on a relatively high level of responsibility at an early stage. Whilst on my placement year, PwC put me through the first year of the ACA qualification, and thus a large proportion of my year was also spent at college with the other graduates, studying for these exams.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The job provided an interesting insight into how businesses operate, and allowed me to see at first hand the challenges faced by an array of firms in the currenct economic climate.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Since I was regarded as a first year graduate, I never felt like the "Placement year student" working in the office. The fact that my managers were prepared to offer responsiblity at an early stage, displays the respect that was shown, and they were always prepared to offer worthwhile feedback when required.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
This was an aspect of the firm that really impressed me. It was made clear very early on, that managers and "in-charges" expected to spend time providing support to myself and other first-year graduates, and this was factored in to the time budgets of client audits. I never encountered any reluctance to offer support from my superiors, and where required, help and guidance were readily available
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Like any job, there were periods where working additional hours was required, but it is widely accepted within the firm that during January and April, this is likely to be the case. Outside of "busy season", there were times where there was relatviely little work, but I was encouraged to ask managers if I could be of any assistance in other areas. This presented the opporunity to particiapate in different things, such as graduate recruitment fairs, and meeting other prospective students at their assessment days in the office.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As mentioned above, I was given the same responsibility as a normal first year graduate, and this was something that helped my development during the year. From an early stage, I was responsible for my own areas on the audit, whilst I also assisted other memebers of the team with their work during "down-periods"
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Although I am not studying a strict Accounting degree, the soft skills that I have developed during the year will be of great importance in my future career.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very well organised placement scheme, where the year effectively becomes the first of the three year graduate scheme run by PwC. The exams that I passed during the year, will mean that I return to PwC as a second year graduate.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Placement year students join with the other graduate intake, so that I effectively became a "First year". This brings a sense of belonging to a year group, similar to that which you experience at University, and therefore the group bonds very quickly. On the last Friday of every month there was a social event paid for by the firm, in addition to other frequent social events run by the social club. As the firm is in the accounting sector, there were also frequent events run by the Southern Chartered Accounting Society, known as SCASS.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
As the office was only about a 45 minute commute from home, I lived at home whilst on placement.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The office is loacted in Ocean Village, a luxury marina development in Southampton, with a range of bars and restaurants. The main high street was also a short walk from the office aswell, where there were further restaurants and bars.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The firm always encouraged their employees to participate in community events, such as working for the day at local schools to teach them some basic business skills. There were also social club events reguarly arranged aswell.