Working towards optimizing online sales by working with trading and other stakeholders to help promote commercially important products or destinations whilst providing customers a seamless and personalized customer experience.
I genuinely had the most incredible time on my placement year at TUI. The best thing about your time as a placement student here will be the level of responsibility you are given from your first day, there is no photocopying or getting coffee, you are straight into a real role that would have to be recruited for if you weren't there. There are also a number of great opportunities to get involved in from presentation workshops, insights training and directors breakfasts which gives you a great chance to learn, develop skills and have exposure to senior members of staff. The company is also incredibly social with nights out, events and activities to suit all. My colleagues quickly became my closest friends and leaving my placement here will be a real struggle.
I felt valued by my colleagues more so at the end of my placement year as you earn your place in your team and department. As a placement student you are treated no differently with most of my department not even aware I was not a regular employee. My team were very personable and warm and I consider them friends rather than colleagues which is key when working in such close proximity every day.
My manager was excellent at providing me with support and guidance through regular catch ups and 1-2-1s, especially key towards the start of my placement. I felt that if I needed extra support it was always available without the support ever feeling forced. I felt empowered in my role to make decisions for my tasks and specific brands right from the start which was essential for the progression of my development. We also had 360 feedback half way through our placement year which was a great opportunity to compare our colleagues thoughts to our own self reflections.
As business fluctuates throughout the year how busy we were shifted but I felt I was always busy and never without lots of stuff to do. Season launches and key events such as Boxing Day sales had me working until 2am on Christmas Night. I feel I worked well under pressure with a long to-do list and it constantly pushed me to work hard but at times it may have been excessive. For example our placement projects took up time outside of work however this may well be due to our levels of conscientiousness, to go above and beyond we had to work those extra hours but were willing to do so because we wanted it to be the best that it could. I never felt bored and also felt management were very appreciative of hard work, the company has a true 'work hard yet play hard' ethos. There was also scope to get involved in projects outside your direct team that interested you with management encouraging the building of relationships with stakeholders in this way.
I think the level of responsibility we were given, from such an early point, was at times overwhelming yet incredibly empowering, especially as placement students. I felt I owned Thomson Cruises from a brand perspective as soon as I began and becoming this key point of contact gave me not only huge responsibility but also great opportunities to network with others across the company. In my role in merchandising it was empowering knowing any slight changes I made to code or images etc. could literally make or break the website! I also felt trading meetings and other meetings important as I could use knowledge or data to try and influence trading decisions, such as online discount being amended. At no point was I made to feel like an intern with most of my wider team not realizing I was a placement student until I left.
There are a number of skills I have developed that going forward I will be able to use in my further studies and beyond in the world of work. From practical skills such as analyzing data, working with code on the website and a breadth of knowledge on the travel industry to personal skills such as confidence, presentation skills and time management I can take forward academically and in my future career.
The atmosphere in my office was very much a 'work hard/play hard' atmosphere - it was lovely to work with friends rather than colleagues. Everyone worked incredibly hard however there were opportunities to celebrate with one another with lots of social activities from Rounders, Christmas Parties, Leaving lunches and drinks, and a work jogging club, netball team and football squad.
The placement scheme is well set up and run by the learning and development team. There is an initial welcome day with meal and drinks before you start and then a 4 week training plan including a 2 week cross over period with the existing placement students which is really helpful to learn from. There are three projects throughout the year, 1 charity and 2 business. These were great in terms of meeting other stakeholders, working together as a placement team as well as making a business impact in the latter two projects.
There were a lot of opportunities for further training and we attended excel, outlook and presentation training early on to help support us for the year ahead. We also had access to TODP (Tour Operator Development program) sessions throughout the year which were half days with senior experts to learn about there specific field, for example flight planning or product development, things we wouldn't have the chance to learn about in our current roles. We also had the option to ask for any additional training from the learning and development team alongside regular catch ups with our managers, 360 Feedback and a mid-year review.
This can vary based on your department or role but many students do come back to return to TUI with five out of seven placement students returning in the placement year that were here a few years ago. From our year at least three will be returning, again showing the success of the placement - if you work hard there are opportunities to return. There are also options to look at roles and make contacts in other departments alongside the graduate scheme opportunities.
The social scene at TUI is great as there are a lot of young employees all willing to go out. Often these can be things such as drinks or going out but we also spent time in the park, at the cinema, having barbecues and doing other activities. Sometimes these were company ran but due to the age range and closeness of the colleagues there were great opportunities to socialize with one another!
The cost of rent in Luton is relatively reasonable which is good although we didn't spend much time socializing in Luton, often spending time locally in Harpenden and St Albans, and then in London at weekends etc. Luton Airport means that there is a lot of regular and easily accessible transport, the trains run to Luton Airport Parkway train station throughout the night most nights a week which is really helpful! There is also a free work bus from this station to the office which is also handy!
The nightlife in Luton is non-existent but Harpenden and St Albans, just a short train or taxi journey had plenty of nice restaurants and bars which sufficed! We also spent a lot of time in London which is just a 20 minute journey from the train station in Luton to Kings Cross so although the imminent nightlife was poor we still managed to go out a lot and to some good places!
There were opportunities for activities such as TUI running club at lunchtimes, TUI football and TUI netball after work. There were also other opportunities such as singing in the TUI Choir. The engagement forum were also open to new ideas so if there was something you really wanted to start in your department or across the wider business these opportunities are available.