1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed the year placement with Gist. The role has been challenging, varied & rewarding. I have done work mainly in the consulting department but also for other teams and having the ability to have some influence over the type of work I have done is clearly a positive. The level of work has been at the right level as it has been challenging but the team are supportive if help is required.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I was welcomed into the team by everyone with no one giving a cold shoulder and as such felt as if I was valued. The first week I was eased in meeting people from various departments to help give me a better grasp of the organisation and what we do. From the start and throughout the year the year I was given a high amount of responsibility which clearly makes one feel valued.
At Gist you are assigned a buddy and a mentor as well as having a line manager. The whole team though are happy to help if required & I received frequent feedback. I felt there was a good balance of being given support and guidance but also not being micro-managed
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
As part of the scheme you are given a 4 week review (which is more of a discussion about aims for the year to come than a review of work), 12 week review, 6 month review and 12 month review. In the reivews there are pointers for where to improve based on team member's contributions. Senior managers were also happy to help with any career guidance or other discussions I wanted to have with them.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I personally found the workload to be at a suitable level; with any job there going to be days when you’re really busy & days when you have less work to do but overall I feel as if I always had enough to do without being completely overloaded with work. The peak time for the business is around Christmas and the days leading up to Christmas were more busy but again the workload was manageable
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given lots of responsibility during my year in industry and was involved in a variety of projects. I did work for members of the board and customers. There were a few “IP” jobs that were given to me because of my position but that was understandable; the variety of projects that I did and variety of projects I did the work for is a demonstration of the responsibility you are given as an IP at Gist.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
There were two formal training sessions on communication and these have helped during my year and will continue to help at university and beyond this. A decent portion of the role is Excel based and as such my skills here have improved dramatically; though this may not necessarily help with my degree it will definitely a useful skill to have. I have also used various other Microsoft programmes such as Access which again will be helpful in a future career.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The people in the consulting team are all very friendly and easy to get on with. There is a relaxed, pleasant environment in the office in general & I have never had any experience of being micro-managed (which I have heard happen to some placement students). The open place office is a generally nice place to be.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement was organised extremely well. The first couple weeks is a gentle easing in involving getting to know the business through meeting members from each department and some taster work. Furthermore there is an event, again within the first couple of weeks, which gets all the graduates and placement students together for a couple of days where board members given presentations to further enhance our knowledge of the business
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There are two formal training sessions for graduates and placement students based around communication. These training days are preceded by networking events the night before as many of the graduates / placement students are at depots across the country. The various reviews through the year are also designed to ensure you get the most out of the placement. Early on they will ask what skills you want to develop through the year and do the best they can to tailor your work to these aims.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The graduate programme at Gist gives a real chance for rapid career progression. Its success is demonstrated by the fact 20% of senior management at Gist came from the graduate scheme. Having said this, there is not a graduate position in the consulting department; you can either enroll as a IT project manager or in the operation (i.e. at one of the depots). The schemes (from speaking to graduates and meeting people who used to be on them) are fantastic if they suit your career choice but may not be suited to everyone
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There is only 1 consulting placement student but there is an IT grad, apprentice and a HR placement student in the office. Furthermore there are lots of apprentices in a different department who are very friendly.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Can't really comment as I lived at home during the placement. However Basingstoke is a relatively large town whilst Reading is larger and easily commutable
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There are events in basingstoke with two nightclubs and a venue which often has comedy on. There are also lots of nearby towns which also have clubs
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Whilst I was at Gist there was often football organised on a Wednesday between people from various departments. This was a good way to network & meet new people. There are also nights out that people within the organisation often organise as although the consulting department tend to be mid-late 20s or older there are lots of apprentices and people around the age of 20 in the office.