1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed it immensely. There was so much diversity and a range of jobs, people, environments that I feel that it gave me such a wide variety of learning and experience. TJX Europe value the people within the company so much that they make an effort to ensure that we do our jobs to a great standard, whilst still having fun.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Very valued! TJX Europe made the effort to ensure that us placement students had a 30 min overview and introduction with every team within my department to help us get an overall view of how each department interacts with the rest and to introduce us to everyone. We also had weekly meetings with our line managers and buddies to express any concerns or questions, and to check in that we were settling in ok. There were also a few lunches out to help us get to know certain people better to help us settle in more.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
In my first week my line manager would make sure she took the time to come over and see how I was doing, and after that we had weekly catch-up sessions. We also have a monthly meeting with our mentor who is there to guide us and help us develop and make the most of our time at the company.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The day-to-day jobs are varied. There were some routine tasks that were required to be carried out throughout the placement, however one of my favourite things about working at TJX Europe was the variety and opportunities they provided us. I expressed an interest to have a look at another department and they encouraged me to go spend time with that department to enhance my view of the company overall. We were also able to have the amazing experience of going abroad to countries in Europe with them. We go out and about into stores and meetings quite regularly which keeps us busy too.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I felt that I was given a good amount of responsibility. At first, we were just introduced to the tasks and we sat and listened in meetings to get a understanding of the tasks and context behind them. This was great because we weren't put straight into a task with responsibility that we were uncomfortable with. When the weeks progressed and we have a better understanding and more confidence we were allowed to take on tasks independently with less supervision, however we were not left on our own - we could ask our line managers for help at any time as well as still had regular check in's to see how we were doing with the work.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I have learnt such a variety of skills from simple things from how to write a professional email to more complex skills such as how to take on a task independently and lead myself. It has also taught me the importance of time management and prioritising which is key for final year degree studies. My placement at TJX Europe most importantly has given me the confidence to put myself out there more, express my thoughts and ideas and has shown me that I am capable of working in a professional environment and that I do have an insightful and important input which I didn't think I had before.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere within the office was always positive. The office was an open-plan layout which meant that it was easy to interact with one another, which allowed us to always feel involved. We were seated with the rest of the employees, and were not put on a different side of the office or anything like that. There were monthly departmental meetings in which the whole department would gather round and everyone would get a chance to share updates, thoughts and ideas which always meant that everyone was in the loop and kept a great atmosphere.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement was organised really well, especially considering it was the first year that they have run it. Before we started our buddies rang us to introduce themselves and let us know what was going to happen in the first week as well as general things such as what to wear, what time to show up and what to bring. We were also emailed with a timetable about a week or two before we started which included meetings, overviews and introductions. This all helped me feel very comfortable when first arriving into the business as I knew what was expected of me and what I was going to be doing. On the second day they gave us a plan of what our main tasks and goals/achievements would be over the 6 months for each department we would be spending.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company were certainly very invested in us. They organised workshops for all placement and graduate students with the Early Careers Team which included workshops like 'Leading Self' and 'Emotional Intelligence' which were vital for working within the professional environment. The company also paid for us to go on an external 2-day course to further develop our skills.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The social scene was good with fellow placement students. There were overall about 50-60 placement, grad and apprentice students which meant there were plenty of opportunities. The Early Careers Team added us all to one Facebook page in which we could all message and add each other. Many people would post in the group of organised nights out, house warming's/parties or even the occasional drink after work! This made is super easy for us all to meet up and socialise, even though we were all spread across different departments and wouldn't necessarily interact on a day-to-day basis.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living and socialising in the area wasn't expensive, but it wasn't very cheap either - probably around the middle. There are bars such as Spoons and Walkabout which are known for their cheap prices, as well as clubs such as Pryzm. Going into London was slightly more expensive, however the experience of being able to go out in London with the range of diversity of socialising scenes and being able to do so easily, made it 100% worth paying that little bit extra.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I worked in the Watford head office which is located in North London. There was a great nightlife as there was a local Pryzm and Hydeout as well as bars such as Walkabout. There is a direct >15 min train into London Euston which has great links to the rest of Central London - any sort of music/clubbing scene you were into was right at your doorstep!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?