1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I cannot say I have enjoyed my placement with Atos over the past year. I have been underwhelmed with the amount of work I've been given, frustrated that my team is scattered over the UK and there was no structure to the scheme. There have been ups and downs (I have enjoyed some aspects) but over the duration of my placement I have grown to dislike the company.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I never felt particularly valued or cared for. I think that is because of the lack of work and responsibility I was given. It is hard to feel valued by your colleagues when they don't work in the same office as you and they rarely speak to you.
I have been given pieces of work that I've worked hard on and then been told, once I've completed it, that it won't be used and it was probably pointless.
Even after asking, I was never given tasks that I felt added any particular value.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I think this is again due to being so far away from my manager but I don't feel like he supported me during my placement. We had 2 reviews- a 3 month and a 6 month review. During these reviews I talked about my worry about the lack of work I have and asked to be given more project management focussed tasks. Sadly this work never materialised.
I was working on a project with another manager and it was difficult to get hold of him (he was so busy).
During my placement I wasn't made to feel comfortable to ask for support or guidance- when I did I rarely got a friendly response.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I probably had in total 6 busy weeks. Occasionally I had a lot of calls in a day. But the majority of the time I would finish the tasks I had been given very quickly and then I could only wait for responses or would have nothing to do for the rest of my time.
I had a busy few weeks in October, those were hectic and my favourite of my placement. But there definitely wasn't a balance.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I don't feel like I was given the amount of responsibility I should've been. I was involved with conversations with a large customer and I participated in a lot of meetings but I don't feel like I was an integral part of the team. it's incredibly difficult to engage with a project that if you disappeared from, there would be zero impact.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The specific training I was given during my placement I will never use again. I have learnt a lot more about the IT services industry and IT as a discipline however the technical knowledge I learnt I will never use again as it is very specific to type of software on Atos use.
However I do think I have learnt a lot about myself and managing a team/ welcoming a newbie to a company. I feel like I've learnt mainly what not to do. I wish I had done a year studying abroad.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Beeston is a really nice office. It's clean, modern and open plan with lots of windows. I sit by a window which I enjoy.
There are lots of empty desks- desks allocated to people but they choose to work from home, so it can feel quite quiet, especially on Fridays.
There are only small break-out rooms and no cafeteria, so there isn't much of a social feel.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Really poorly. I didn't have a structure to my placement at all which was very disappointing.
It was lucky that the previous placement student was still around to show me the ropes a bit. He helped me find resources to learn about my teams work.
If I hadn't pushed my manager to give me work, I think he would've forgotten about me. My team often times didn't have work for me to do and it really felt like they just had an intern for the sake of having one and as a cheap spare resource.
I wasn't given a HR contact either- here wasn't any HR contact for interns.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Apart from a three-day soft skill course in Telford in my second month of working at Atos, I didn't feel like I was introduced to the company well. I don't feel like Atos invested into me.
I asked my manager if I could do a Prince2 Training course and he said no.
It would've been invaluable to travel to Crewe to shadow others from my team and learn from them early on in my placement, however there was a travel ban, so I couldn't.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Atos has given me a really bad impression and I don't want to work for the organisation again. In fact, I am planning to finish my placement a couple of months early in order to work at a different company- hopefully this will give me experience which will make my placement year worthwhile.
Also, from quarterly calls I got the impression that the company is going through a rough patch and might not be doing well.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Once a month there was a social was organised between the grads, interns and apprentices in the building. The groups felt pretty cliquey and I found it hard to make friends. No-one really eats together at lunch times either.
I get the impression the London office is much more sociable.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I moved into a flat for the year and I'd say the rent is average for a nice flat in the centre of a city. Socialising is average too for a city I'd say.
Eating out, drinking, it's all pretty averagely priced, but obviously there are expensive places and cheap places, it just depends what type of scene you prefer.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Great. Nottingham, Leicester, Loughborough, they are all student cities, with lots on offer. You definitely can tell when it's the uni holidays because the nightlife dies down a little.
Leicester had a great comedy festival going on in February and Nottingham has lots of local festivals and things going on.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I tried to get involved with things where I could but it didn't feel like a lot was going on at the Beeston office- most of it was based in London.
I helped organise the northern Christmas do which was great fun. I also got involved with peer-shadowing but that felt badly organised and you can only shadow one person.