On the whole, I would say that I enjoyed my job at TBS most of the time. Like in any job, some times would be busy and some times would be quiet, so time management and balancing my workload was definitely important or I could end up with too much or too little work to do.
I definitely feel that you are really valued as an employee at TBS. As soon as you start your placement, you are treated like any other team member and you quickly realise that you can approach anyone with ease, no matter what level of the organizational structure they are at. If you engage with your colleagues on a social level then they will reciprocate.
I would say that I always felt like I had support from my manager and they would always seek new opportunities for me to learn and develop, such as project work that is completely different from my day to day tasks. If you want to succeed in the company then you have to make sure your manager knows this - some managers are more laid back and this makes it a little harder to progress. However, my manager was very focused so I got the most out of my placement.
Some weeks I didn't stop working, but there would be occasional days where I wouldn't have that much to do. When this has happened a couple of times, you will realise that there is always something that can be done or someone who needs help with something, so you just have to make sure you ask your manager if there is anything else to get involved in. If this doesn't sound like you, then you could use this free time to learn about something new that could help with your job.
I feel that I was given as much responsibility as my colleagues throughout my placement. At times, I felt that I was given more responsibility than some of my other colleagues which was a real confidence boost, as I could see that I was being trusted to complete tasks to a good standard. If you really want responsibility on things like projects, you will have to really work for it, but if you prove yourself you will be given more and more responsibility.
I think that this year has helped me so much with the transition from university to working life. I would definitely need less training on many things than other graduates who finish university without a placement year, so there is an incentive for employers to hire me over other applicants. After doing a placement, I would 100% recommend it to anyone thinking about doing one - I feel a lot more confident about getting a good job after university.
It really depends what department you work in. For example, it seems very serious in finance a lot of the time but feels a lot more casual in some of the other departments. In my department, it was a good balance between everyone cracking on with their work and also catching up with their colleagues. There's no real dress code - some people will wear a shirt and shoes whilst others will wear a t shirt and trainers - this creates a relaxed feeling in the workplace. Many of my colleagues were a lot older than me so it was a bit tricky to find things in common to talk about, which could make it a little dull at times.
Parts of my placement were definitely organised well. For example, there were many workshops and intern only events to attend throughout the year. This meant we could build a network across the business with the other interns and also develop our skills as employees. However, in your day to day job role you don't really feel like an intern and don't receive any more help than the next employee - this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it just felt like there was some structure missing to the placement.
There were a lot of training opportunities throughout the year which I was encouraged to attend if I felt that it would be useful for my job role or even later on (at university or later in my career etc). This showed that TBS are not necessarily interested in developing you for their needs, but that they really want you to decide how you want to develop your career, whether you stay with TBS or not.
I'm keeping my options open for now, but working with TBS in the future is definitely one of those options. I want to work in London and TBS doesn't have a really central office, so this is one reason why I want to look at other employers when I leave university. However, I feel that I have the right contacts and the possibility of a job in the future with TBS looks bright if I want that opportunity.
The social scene was the best part of my placement. I met some of the most amazing people during the year - it was kind of like going to uni! Many of the other interns lived together just like my house, and we all met up for things like drinks or just going round to another intern house for parties. I've just got back from a festival with some of the other interns, so you could say we've got a really close group of interns here.
The cost of living was a bit more than I expected for a place so far outside of London. Also, there are not many big cities that close, so I was surprised when I first looked for accommodation - the prices are higher than I thought they would be. Cost of living is pretty average and there are lots of supermarkets within walking distance of my house.
Nightlife was awful. If you want a good night out, you have to travel for at least half an hour to get to anywhere interesting. The best way to make sure you don't get bored on placement is to get close to the other interns you live with and chill out with them instead. There is a spoons in the town so you can grab a few drinks there if you fancy, but it's not the best spoons ever.
Not really that I can think of. The only thing worth mentioning would be that The Body Shop give you 3 days per year to do some volunteering during work hours, so this is quite cool if you feel like helping out and getting out of the office for a bit.