1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
It was very varied, giving me great exposure to numerous areas of the business, and I've been able to build solid working relationships as a result. In my role I have been out of the office and on the road at least once a week - a bonus if you like experiencing new environments and meeting new people.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Extremely valued - both by my team, and by the wider company. Within my team, I was regularly thanked and recognised for my efforts. On a wider scale, Toyota provide a lot for their staff e.g. celebratory lunches, conferences, parties etc - Toyota look after their staff and it shows.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager supported me when required but allowed me to work independently. Guidance was always offered, not only by direct management but others around the business who are happy to coach students. Complete opposite approach to micro-management - this gave me the ability to motivate myself and take full responsibility on my projects.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
My role was project based meaning that depending what was going on I could either not have a moment to breathe, or have plenty of time to get on with work. On average, the amount of work was manageable, although some travelling/events do happen outside of work hours, but this doesn't prevent a good work-life balance.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
More responsibility than expected for a placement student - this has taught me how to manage projects and communications with various stakeholders. Management style variable between departments however I worked independently and had to be confident in managing my own workload - my manager trusted me to get on as required.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills, behaviours and people I have met over the year will undoubtedly help me in life after University, and the experience has brought my degree in to reality. The techniques for learning and project management in Toyota, as well as seeing tangible business outcomes, have strengthened my understanding of theory learnt in my degree.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office on the whole is fairly quiet, and quite relaxed, although this varies between departments and day-to-day. Very friendly atmosphere on the whole, including working with neighbouring Toyota Financial Services. Lots of staff are field-based so different people in the office every day, and always something going on in 'The Street'.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Overall organisation and structure of programme was good - clearly laid out from induction. Sometimes communication with HR department a little strained, but on the whole, no problems. Would have liked a few more opportunities for personal development specifically for students who are new to the business and to the industry.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Toyota are clearly invested in their staff, and this is apparent in the day to day culture of the company and their Respect for People. Due to nature of my department, my manager was focused on personal development so I was given opportunities to grow. Bonus to be invited to staff conferences and Dealer network conference also.
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?
You are encouraged to apply for the Graduate Scheme during the year, however spaces on this scheme are limited, and difficult to gage whether you are welcome to apply for other non-graduate roles. When applying to Toyota for a placement we were informed that only previous students were able to join the Graduate Scheme after, however this has now changed and the scheme has been opened to external applicants - slightly demotivating for those who have spent 1/2 years with Toyota.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Opportunity to get involved with other students and open to join Sports and Social Club (around 1 event per month). Slight divide between those who moved in with colleagues and those who live elsewhere with other people - up to you how much you get involved with different events and activities, but the option is always there.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Surrey is expensive! Not such a shock if you live in London/somewhere else down South, but would be a big difference if moving from the North. Rent is equivalent to London prices, and drinking is also much the same as London.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Bars and a few clubs in Epsom/other towns near the office, as well as lots of pubs, however London not too far away if wanting a better night out.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Sports and Social Club was available but around 1 event a month for this - not much else that I was made aware of.