1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I absolutely loved my year at crosscountry and never wanted to leave to go back to university. During my time there I learnt so many different skills which will help me both at university and in future employment. I also learnt an awful lot about the rail/transport industry and was amazed by how much everyone in the business played a part to help the company and being a business management student it was great to see how different departments are used in a 'real life's environment. I would definitely consider a job at cross country in the future after my 14 months there.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
At cross country you will be treated as a colleague and not as a student on placement. I feel that this was brilliant as all employees there would enable you to work independently and complete tasks which can be costly for the business. This independence is something which I found brilliant as it enabled me to develop my skills and the work you was doing could easily be a full time job within the business so the colleagues very much value your hard work.
As well as this, all colleagues who I met and came across were all very friendly and they were always willing to help or have a chat about work/social life since day 1 which made me feel very welcome and I made some brilliant friendships whilst working there with people who I still keep in touch with.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
From the day you start to the day you finish management, line managers and other employees will always be willing to help and support you, whether this be gaining new skills,completing a new task or just asking a general question. This is due to the fact that in cross country there is so much information to learn that not even the experienced employees will know the answer to everything. As well as this, your manager/ line manager will give you tasks throughout the year and they will support you during this. However, you will also get plenty of independence and you are expected to work independently but this doesn't mean that you won't be supported because if you ever have a question or need help then this is always available to you and everyone is more than happy to help.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
When I first started the placement, and the first few months, my job role wasn't that busy. This was due to the fact that 2 of us were completing the same job as well as the previous placement student also helping for a while. However, during the Christmas period (November/December) the workload soon shoots right up and after that you will constantly be busy until that finishes. Once Christmas finished, my line manager looked at getting myself and the other placement student trained on other job rolls which wasn't part of our description, this was great as I was able to learn another part of the job, this then increased the workload again. As well as new training, after a while management would also look at giving me other jobs to complete so after the Christmas period until the time you leave the workload will suddenly increase.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As stated earlier, at cross country you will be treated as an employee and due to this you will have a lot of responsibility. The job role which I was part of was actually very important for the business and if done incorrectly then this could've been costly for the business and lead to a cancellation, this is the extent of responsibility you will have. However, this isn't something to worry about as you will be fine as long as you make sure you check everything you do and complete everything carefully. As well as this, I also had to conduct weekly reports to higher management, this was something which I was amazed when asked to do as I didn't think a placement student would be given such a responsible job.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Throughout my time at cross country we took part in sandwich sessions which looked at developing our employability skills such as communication, problem solving and decision making. These are all very important life skills which will always be needed in a job role and I noticed that after learning these skills these were very much developed. As well as this, I constantly improved and gained skills in the job which I was unaware about until the placement had finished and I realised how much I had changed (for the better) as a person/employee.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Within my job role it was in a department which could become very stressful depending on the jobs uncovered. However, this was hardly ever shown due to all the employees having a laugh and a joke throughout the day to keep spirits high and everyone going. As well as this, everyone offered to help eachother and I genuinely don't think I could've worked with a better group of people for the job role I did.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The structure and plan for the placement was very good. At cross country they are constantly adding and trying more things with placement students to make their time better, which is brilliant. However, due to it being a first time it's hard for them to know how it is going to work and could sometimes be slightly unorganised. But other than that the whole year was well planned out and we always knew what was coming up.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
On the placement scheme, cross country set up many sandwich sessions for you to develop new skills. As well as this, you also get the full benefits of a full time employee which includes having access to online courses if you wish to take part.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Whilst on the placement program you will be automatically put into the grad scheme application process which includes an assessment centre. Regardless of how you do in this process you will receive feedback on where you could improve and what you did well.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
One thing I regret about my placement is not really socialising with other students and this was due to me being the opposite side of the office. We would still occasionally go out for drinks etc but this would only be a few of us and on a rare occurrence.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived at home and commuted so unsure on living but regarding socialising, the office is in the centre of Birmingham meaning that there is plenty of access food and drink places.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?