Assisting the CSR team with devising and implementing strategies that helped Toyota be a good corporate citizen. These largely focussed on either Environmental activities or charity work.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I very much enjoyed my placement. The working culture was very healthy and productive and the people were a pleasure to work with. The office was very well located and there were some nice perks of the jobs such as getting to drive some of the new cars.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
From day 1 I very much like a real part of the team. The role I was doing didn't feel like a student role but a "proper job". This was explained to me very early on by my manager and it really helped to understand what was expected of me. Towards the end of my placement, colleagues were depending on me for pieces of work and my opinions were listened to and implemented when appropriate.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Support from my manager was excellent and far surpassed my expectations and what students at other organisations have described to me. I had a one to one every fortnight which gave me a great opportunity to raise any concerns I had and talk through my approach to the projects I was involved in. We then had quarterly and annual reviews which helped to identify my strengths and weaknesses and develop them as my placement progressed.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Quite difficult to answer. The role I was in meant the job was largely project based, with minimal day to day requirements. This had pros and cons but meant there were some times where I was incredibly busy and some times where I had more capacity. However, colleagues were very supported and offered help when I had lots of work. I was then able to return the favour when I had more free time.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Far more than I ever expected. I was involved in several high profile projects around the business and worked with company directors on multiple occasions. I presented some of my projects to the board of directors on two occasions and was trusted with delivering a whole company presentation towards the end of my placement.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills I developed over the course of my placement have helped shape my approach to university work in my final year. The problem solving process that is deeply engrained in Toyota's culture has been extremely helpful and I'm sure it is something I will continue to use for the foreseeable future.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Quite traditional but very fun and enjoyable. The people at Toyota made it a really friendly workplace and there was lots of opportunities to get involved in things outside of work through a Sports and Social membership.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very well organised. I was aware from the very start what my objectives were and what projects I would be involved with and this really helped the organisation. Additionally, managers were very reactive to my performance and were willing to tweak certain aspects of my role as I went along.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I felt that my development was a constant talking point between my manager and myself. Based on what my perceived strengths and weaknesses were, my manager tried to give me specific bits of work to help bring out certain skills.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Prospects within Toyota seem very positive. There is a really good graduate scheme that helps prepare students for a very strong career within the industry. Toyota also retain employees for a long time, making it a good career option.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were a number of students from the same universities which did create a bit of a divide amongst the students. However, a number of students did live together and go out quite frequently so there was definitely a scene.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Very high. Epsom is a very pricey areas and I think I was quite lucky that my family home was based not too far away. The students who had to move down from other areas of the country often complained about the cost.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Quite poor. Not much choice but other areas (Kingston etc.) weren't too far away.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes. Lots of sports and social activities as well as a few charity events throughout the year.