Worked in User Experience in the Financial Solutions department. This meant consulting with project teams on how to design successful future financial systems, training the office on UX methodology, and implementing some applications myself.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
From the day you start you are responsible for a variety of different projects, and you are given the freedom to lead them as you see fit. Some may be independent, but most rely on communication and speaking to those globally to understand and effectively manage your work. I can honestly say that there has not been a day go by in P&G where I have felt I have had nothing to do, and the work is hard, but it also drives you to perform and work to the best of your capability. I can say I thoroughly enjoyed most elements of my work, being involved in the design and development of IT Solutions, building capability in the UK for my teams methodology, and bringing forward change.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
From your starting day you are told that everyone in the office has a story to tell, and that if you want to know you can just ask. Your immediate team is all introduced, and you are set up with meetings for anyone of interest in the office. The entire office is set up in a manner where there is no hierarchy of offices, we all sit together, and we're all approachable. Even though you come in as an intern, you're expected to do the same work as everyone else in full time hire, and as a result you are valued in an equal manner to any other employee. I can honestly say I've never been in another role where I felt half as comfortable as with the team I'm with now. Everyone is interested in what you have to say, and everyone expects you to be yourself and won't judge you for that.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
If you have a question you ask. You can basically ask anyone in the office, but I most often asked my direct team and manager, which would always take the time to guide me through any issues, and give me advice on what to do. You are never alone in the office, from the first day you are given a 'coach', which is basically the person in the office who you'd ask most of the silly newbie questions. Nevertheless, I sat next to my manager so I would happily ask her those too. Everyone was new to the company once, so everyone is happy to help and you don't ever feel like an inconvenience.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Busy-ness varies. Some days are hectic, others not so much, all dependent on the timeline of the projects you are managing, as any other job. Yes it is sometimes stressful, but I enjoy working in a fast paced environments so I felt it drove me to work harder. On less busy days its nice to spend some time talking to colleagues over coffee about their progress. I like the balance between the two.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Quite a lot. You are given projects, that may not be as crucial as those in more senior positions, but will also have impact on the business. I was given a variety of projects, some capability building in the office (workshops, videos, newsletters), some application development (from design to testing), some management (internal websites), and was responsible for the migration of a key project from one solution to another.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Heavily increased: Presentation skills, interpersonal skills, confidence in myself, willingness to share and straight talk.
One downside is that I haven't been able to do a lot of technical development in my role (CS grad), however after my successful internship they recognized this gap, and give me a role with both project management & technical development in a new Financial system.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
People are approachable and kind. I worked in a specifically agile area so there is always people chatting and collaborating. Dependent on the area of the office people are more inclined to work quietly or loudly, in the same way that people have preferences for one or the other. If you don't like noise there's always rooms to do independent work, and if you do like noise theirs always meeting rooms to collaborate.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I was looked after from day one. In the first week we weren't in the office, but instead given the opportunity to meet all of the interns successful in the UK (not just our site) and were given introductory presentations. When you start you are given your workplan, a few weeks to get comfortable, and then expected to get going! Every few months you are expected to present on the work you have done, to make sure you and your manager are aligned and you are progressing as expected. Throughout the year there are also set intern trainings, alongside trainings for all employees.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
They gave me a full time role after 8 months. So yes they've invested in me. You are also trained for your role, trained in elements of the company dynamics, and if you feel like you are lacking some knowledge, all you need to do is ask and they will fill that gap.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
After a successful internship I have accepted a full time role. So yes prospects are great ! I was given a placement after I had graduated (it was still for a year I just didn't sandwich it), which meant that if they liked me they may offer me a role immediately after, or during my internship.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There are several company organised events, such as christmas parties, department celebrations, and year balls that you attend for fun. I was actual on of the few interns responsible for organizing the Christmas party, so that was fun (its tradition that the interns do it). They also took us on a trip to Liverpool for capability building (and fun) which was also enjoyable. There is also a sports and social club which you can join and get discounts on a variety of activities.(I've done climbing, go-karting, and horseriding all through it). All the interns would also informally go out together, and since we're based in Newcastle its a great scene.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Newcastle is cheap and wonderful. Everyone is friendly, the city center is lively both in the day and at night, and although it does house a lot of students, its still good for those who are young professionals in the area. The site is about a 20 minute drive from the city centre, so you're close to everything if you live in the surrounding towns.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Fab. I was actually a student in newcastle before I completed this internship, and I thoroughly enjoy the nightlife in newcastle. There is something for everyone - comedy clubs, trebles bars, nightclubs, cinemas, bowling, and a lot of great food places to find. I wouldn't have stayed here after 3 years at University if it wasn't a great place to live.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Sports and social: if you sign up there are a variety of events outside work that you can get involved in - climbing, go karting, food, horseriding, cinema etc. There is also always something going on in the city centre - nights out, markets, again lots of food. So if you're willing to look for opportunities, there is always something to do.