1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Working for Prysmian was a very valuable experience. They work you hard, but there is a real feel of responsibility. You take pride in what you do, and you feel valued as part of the team. No one belittles you or treats you as 'temporary'. That made it more enjoyable than past placements I have had!
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
In Prysmian I was treated as a full time employee. There is no coffee making or copying, unless I was making my own. Everyone shares the same responsibilities and they expect me to work just as everyone else does. I was treated as an asset to the team, which made me feel valued.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager was great! He was constantly making sure I had everything I needed. Even when asking repetitive questions, or struggling with personal issues he was willing to listen and support me. Prysmian take on new students each year, so he was very understanding about my needs for my coursework. He even talked to my university support team on my behalf!
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
During my placement I was part of the Aftersales Team for Prysmian and Draka. That meant phone calls, debit notes and emails were constantly coming in, needing to be investigated. There weren't many moments where I was truly bored. But nothing was ever so stressful as to completely drain me.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
During my placement I was given all the responsibility a 'normal' full-time employee in my position would be given. There was no "she's just a student" or "just go copy". It is a true workplace experience, and you are treated like a proper member of the team, and not a temporary doormat!
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
In Prysmian you work with a common account management software, which is really useful to bolster my CV. So is the fact that my role was client facing, so all the phone training and professional etiquette will really come in handy. As far as my degree is concerned, I got to see how project and production management can influence all sections of the business.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
My office was relatively noisy. An open plan sales office tends to be. However, it wasn't only the phones that were making the office buzz! The people there were really fun, and we had two who had a tendency to sign. They were great, and I am definitely going to miss them and their (off key) singing!
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
From day 1 I was set up with the previous years student, who supported me through my first month. Whilst I had my student buddy I learned the basics. After she left I adapted to my role, and become independent. By Christmas I felt like I knew everything! And it will all come full circle once I get to train my replacement! Prysmian takes on new students each year, and yes that's plural. They have plenty of experience with students and their needs.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Prysmian taught me true telephone manners, from voicemail to dealing with angry customers. They also taught me how to use a common account management software, which will be extremely useful on my CV. There are possibilities for people to go see our factories and learn more about our cable, but sadly I didn't partake. The option was there though!
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
It is a bit far away from home. However, their post-grad placements are really good, and I have seen some students go abroad!
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Usually the students band together for lunch time and organize their own events. There is a monthly-ish, post-paycheck get together with everyone in the office!
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Eastleigh itself is quite expensive, but if you look for student digs in Southampton I am sure you can get a cheaper place than I did. The travel between Southampton and Eastleigh is also a very short and cheap commute, so I would advise going to Southampton!
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Eastleigh is a bit dead, but Southampton is only a short (and cheap!) train ride away!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are options to participate in five-a-side football and monthly-ish nights out. Some even banded together to go to the gym. You only had to look!