1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I found it a great opportunity to learn more about finance through practical work experience and studying towards the ACA qualofication. All the olleagues have been very welcoming and my managers are great mentors, especially those that have been through the same grad scheme before and have been extremely supportive throughout.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Since the beginning I felt very valued, especially as they realised I brought a fresh point of view (I came from a business administration and project management background) among my colleagues, all chartered accountants. They gave me responsibilities - within my role - and I feel like i contribute daily to the delivery of our services.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Once I joined the firm I was allocated both a counselling manager (a line manager who supports you throughout and gives you career advices, tracks your progresses and so on...). Together with it you are assigned with a buddy, a fellow trainee with a bit more experience who assists you with the day to day activities, especially in the very first months.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
It is fair to say that it took a few weeks before I got fully involved with the work we do, there is a bit of a learning curve and the ACA exams help you immensly as you can better understand the business and the more technical aspects of accounting. As months pass by i find myself more and more busy but working hours are reasonable.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
A fair amount of responsibilities - withing my role - was given to me since the beginning and it felt quite rewarding and empowering.
At the same time I was not expected to be too knowledgeable about accounting, especially the technical aspects, so my senior colleagues always assist me if I have queries. however, I am constantly encouraged to be proactive.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I am using a critical mindset anytime I work and do my checks on balances. I feel like this will help me a lot in the future as it is precisely this questioning mindset and attention to details that will make me a better employee. I am also polishing my organisational and time management skills.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
the athmosphere is generally relaxed with increased amounts of work during peak season.
The amenities are modern and comfortable. In conclusion I would say that working in this environment helps productivity and increases the job satisfaction. We have collaborative areas as well as quiet pods for working quietly individually which are always a plus
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
very well organised throughout, thanks for a good coordination of all the actors involved in the training programme and the support received throughout.
You have clear objectives, milestones and reviews at regular intervals to track progresses and plan the future course of action. you are closely monitored yet not micro managed.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
given that they are paying fro my ACA membership and exams I think they are investing a lot and i am grateful for that. It does not represent just a financial investment but an investment on the development of the employee which makes you feel valued and appreciated, with an eye on a long term relationship.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
the firm has a clear career path from the beginning so you know the milestones to look out for as you progress. Monthly meetings with your counselling managers and six monthly reviews give you updates on where you stand and where you want to be if you keep working for the firm.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
yes most definitely. that is because your fellow trainees are the very first persons you encounter at college before starting to work at the office. i have made good friends and we often organize events and socials between us so there is a good atmosphere. we also suppoort each others during our studies.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Being close to London, the cost of living was quite high, yet not as high as the city of London itself. the salaries are presumably indexed to the cost of living. The area is very livable and there is always something to do; most of the hang out spots are fairly affordable.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
haven't had to chance to experience it very much but Reading is a very vibrant town with lots to do even at night. people seem friendly and have a nice attitude.
The town center has nightclubs as well as more chilled bars and pubs; the food scene is fairly good too.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
due to the long working hours and the studying for the chartered accountant qualification I haven't had the chance to experience that a lot thus far. However I am getting involved in sport clubs and local networking events. Other opportunities include volunteering for charities or join a society involved in different activities, especially wellbeing.