I work within the SOx & Compliance department which ensures Travelport are compliant with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This involves raising awareness of SOx throughout the company by holding workshops to give employees a better understanding of what we do and why we do it; and testing the effectiveness of key controls to ensure compliance and report any control deficiencies which may appear.
Travelport offers a very warm and friendly office environment with everyone being very approachable and kind. We were given a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) project by the heads of the internship program, to raise £15,000 over the year for our chosen charity, for each event we held, the Senior Leadership Team were more than supportive in helping us fundraise, with them sponsoring us to complete Rough Runner. Overall the placement was enjoyable, but at times stressful.
I felt like an integral member of the team, with numerous offers to produce very important reports which would be presented to senior members, at the end of the Year End process, I was fortunate enough to be able to present the SOx 2017 results to the Group Financial Controller in preparation for the upcoming Audit Committee meeting.
At the start of the placement, I was given plenty of resources and training to get me settled in and up to speed, with the previous interns giving us hints and tips for the coming year, although some tasks proved to be difficult to understand. I received guidance from my team to complete the tasks, but for some they relieved me of completing that task.
At the start of the placement I wasn't too busy with my SOx role, as I was still settling into an office environment, therefore my team didn't give me as much work, therefore I participated more in the various CSR events the interns held. But as the Year End process progressed, I was quickly given multiple tasks with strict deadlines to complete them by. Since then I have been busy with numerous tasks to complete, but without the same urgency as at Year End.
I was given numerous responsibilities including:
- Raising £15,000 for our chosen charities in our intern CSR project
- Testing controls and ensuring all required employees have attended a workshop and completed an end of year SOX-quiz, to ensure compliance with S.404 of the Sarbanes Oxley legislation
- Producing a written exercise for the SOx Graduate Assessment Centre and adjudicate candidates throughout the day
- Present to the Group Financial Controller my 2017 controls testing results for SOX
- Collating a 2017 SOX results excel file to be presented to the CFO
- Ad-Hoc projects, including helping prepare the 2018 Commercial Conference in Brighton
I have developed numerous transferable skills during my time here, namely my work ethic is even higher than before the placement, and I believe this will help me gain a first upon my return to my 3rd year of university. Other skills I have gained include excel, presentation and public speaking by presenting at a quarterly town hall in front of the whole Swindon office. I was able to help out on most of the assessment centres, intern and graduate, therefore I will have an understanding of what the hiring managers look for on the day, which will be invaluable in assisting me to gain a graduate role.
The office environment was unlike anything I would have expected! It was very warm and friendly, with everyone being welcoming and easy to talk to. Apart from year end it was a very chilled environment, with summer hours in July and April when I started, meaning we could finish early on the Friday. The overall feel was very inclusive as we were involved in numerous intern sessions and projects which helped us get to know people around the company, including the CEO, and be part of very exciting work.
The internship was extremely well organised, with numerous intern specific events and department-wide conferences we were invited to. The CSR program was the most impressive, with the previous interns giving us an in-depth insight into the program and how to fundraise toward the £15,000 target given.The Senior Leadership Team were also very supportive in ensuring we reached out target, by publicising it company-wide. Overall a very CSR conscious organisation.
There were many outlets available to develop your skills, including online training courses; Medlabs, which helped everyone, not just interns, develop their soft skills and intern sessions where employees from around the company present their roles and responsibilities. Also on the job, I was given guidance in how to improve myself for my day-to-day responsibilities.
There are limited graduate roles available currently, but more have been introduced since I started. I would most likely return to this company after I have had experience in another industry or environment as I do not normally live near Langley, so I am more focused on gaining employment which is more local to me.
The interns were very sociable with nights out in London/Windsor/Uxbridge, and numerous days out in London. Company-wise, there is a Social Club which for £2 per month there are subsidised rates for amazing events, such as go-karting, Cirque du Soleil and an end of year boat party. I recommend getting a large house with other students.
The cost of living in Slough is high, as I am not used to London prices. Also for socialising, I wasn't used to the London night life scene, so we didn't often find cheap nights out, with an Uber back to Slough costing around £50+ if you miss the late trains.
The nightlife in the local area was very limited, with nothing in Slough, but Windsor and Uxbridge were ok, with both having some pubs and clubs. We didn't go to Uxbridge much, although it is a student town.
There were a couple activities outside of work with colleagues to get involved in, including Tuesday night 7-a-side football and the Social Club. But most activities to get involved in didn't relate to work and weren't accessible after work hours, only really on the weekends. Overall there were not too many opportunities.