1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my placement experience - it was a great way to gain real business exposure and work on business projects where you can make a real impact and develop skills applicable to future careers and better yourself. I have gained invaluable experiences which I can take forward to develop my personal brand and CV, hopefully making me a stronger candidate for future jobs.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a high level of responsibility in my placement through being given projects I was responsible to lead. I was trusted to chair meetings, finalise and create business wide communications, manage financial budgets, work with stakeholders and use my initiative to manage projects and creatively work. I was given responsibility to work with both internal and external stakeholders to represent the company as well as manage projects and build my network, I oversaw projects from start to finish and feel that this greatly improved my confidence to lead and engage with various people, build positive relationships, share and listen to ideas from others and communicate effectively. I was able to utilise my skills to facilitate engagement projects and manage working groups and projects myself, with the support of peers as well as inputting my own perspectives and creative ideas.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My experience will assist me in my future career and life through applying my skillset to real life business scenarios and learning how to apply them in various situations or circumstances. I have developed professional and personal skills which will allow me to be successful in future roles and have confidence in my abilities to produce benefits and positive impacts to other businesses I choose to apply to. I have developed strong business acumen and skills such as project management, time management, efficiency, communication, writing formal comms and building relationships with both internal and external stakeholders, also understanding that different audiences require different extents of information and adapting my way of working to suit specific projects or other individuals.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office atmosphere really varies depending upon department and team. Within my office the atmosphere wasn't always positive and I found it quite dull, I felt some people didn't like to communicate or be too enthusiastic to get to know each other on a personal level and build strong relationships which was a bit of a challenge to me having worked in a social and chatty atmosphere prior to placement. But you learn that some people are at work purely for work purposes, although I worked alongside some other people where I really felt a strong sense of trust and trueness. So I think it really depends upon the department, team and individuals. I enjoyed working with various other areas of the business and seeing how they are all really integrated and socialise a lot, which I gained from fellow undergrad relationships I had built and attending socials.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I think that because there was so many changes to team structure and reporting lines during my placement year that my overall placement was not very well structured. The initial few months were structured and there was a clear plan of projects and positive contributions I could make my owning the projects, applying my leadership and people skills as well as making important decisions to the business. Although after several changes in structure there was little direction and work was quite unnecessary to my skillset - basic jobs and work commonly stereotyped to apprentices or undergrads - which I feel I could've been utilised more for my education and skillset, as well as being given more opportunities to go to other teams or shadow peers when workload was low. I think my placement was restricted and didn't give me the most exposure I could've had compared to other undergrads where they continuously were working on large projects.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was given a company induction, life skill sessions for undergraduates which helped to develop our skills such as interviews, our LinkedIn, team work, personal brands, time management and opportunities to go on courses such as License2 as well as L&D run courses to develop your skills such as powerful presentations.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
Healthcare from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There is a shift towards flexible working and becoming more agile within the company, therefore the future employment prospects are becoming more appealing and shifting away from the standard 9-5 roles which the company is currently still quite rigid around compared to other companies. They offer great perks such as the company car scheme, bonuses, catering bonuses as well as lots of development support and courses to develop skills to grow as a person. The location is ideal if you want to be close to London and still have affordable housing. The building is a really great place to work and amazing to come into everyday being a new modern infrastructure so its a nice vibe to work at.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The social element to the placement was really good! All of the undergraduates got along and there was a real sense of friendship and support towards each other when times get tough. We all mingled and worked well together within business projects and there was a lot of overlay between undergrads in sharing projects and getting involved from different departments and their attributes to them.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living and socialising in the area is reasonably priced, cheaper than London and depending where you get a landlord or negotiate a good rent I think it was good! The houses are mostly modern and a lot of rents include bills which is also another perk of not having to worry about sharing out bills or paying them on time, and just using as much water and heating as you like!
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife is okay, its not amazing as some bigger cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Cardiff or London. But for a laugh and to have a few drinks it's alright. There's a few bars and two night clubs in MK which are a good laugh but not to have expectations is the best thing haha!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are a lot of opportunities to get involved with, particularly charity work and events that VWFS offer such as the Stantonbury Campus mentoring scheme, they also strongly support 5 charities such as Willen Hospice so there is a lot of charitable work around this such as fun runs, bake sales and events. There is also sports clubs and teams which play against VWG and local teams, as well as many gyms, sport facilities, clubs and activities to get involved with outside of work. MK has willen lake with a lot of different activities you can get involved with, cycle routes everywhere to get out and about and lots of shops and social places!