On the whole, I was dissatisfied with my placement. I found day-to-day I was working on quite menial tasks and despite the size of some of the projects I worked on, I felt that overall my part within them was insignificant and my own projects were those which had been left by others previous, this was most apparent when the work I had done was not to be continued after I left.
Without meaning to contradict myself, I found that the menial tasks were those which made me feel most valued. These were often tasks that I had sought out myself to try and fill in the gaps, by doing these I found that I got to know everyone in the office and around the department much better and the help was appreciated by everyone. Needless to say everyone was very welcoming when I first arrived and I am still in touch with a few of the engineers 6 months on.
I found my supervisor was often never around and when he was available he would often tell me to leave the work and try and give me something new rather than provide the guidance and support I needed to progress. This meant I often had to turn to the other engineers in the office and other parts of the department to get the guidance I needed.
Despite working on a few projects simultaneously, there was often a lot of time that needed to be filled while waiting for people to respond or deliver test materials etc. Unfortunately I wasn't provided with a large enough amount of work to fill these gaps and despite my best efforts to help people, I still found I had a lot of time with nothing to do.
I was given a decent amount of responsibility but there was no ramping up. I found within 2 weeks I had my own projects and deadlines but not the experience or knowledge to complete them and by the end of the placement the level of responsibility had dropped off when I would have preferred it to have been increasing.
I have certainly gained skills for life from my role and the company. Skills that I gained from the Excel training which the company organised could prove invaluable in my final year of Uni and in the future. Other skills gained like Time management, Presentation skills, communication skills and even simple office skills will definitely bode me well for the rest of my life.
The general atmosphere in the office was very positive and cheery. Everyone within the office enjoyed their job and this really shone through creating a positive and fun working environment. In the department everyone was also happy to help with any queries I received or any difficulties I encountered which was excellent having this kind of support.
The organisation behind the placements is incredible. To start with, the recruitment process was very smoothly, communication at each stage of the process was great and the outcome was communicated very quickly. This continued with getting set-up in terms of signing contract and ordering a lease-car, to finding a start date and help find accommodation. Once I started, the great organisation of the placement scheme continued to shine through as we were invited to helpful training session as well as exciting corporate induction events.
Toyota GB Plc really invested in my personal development and training. There were courses I was able to pick and choose from. This was really great being offered the choice of what I thought would benefit me while on my work placement year. Each month there were regular catch up and training sessions with all the other students so we could all learnt and develop together as a team.
Sports and Social Club
Toyota are quite a unique company in what they do as they only offer graduate opportunities to those that have done the placement year. This makes the future employment prospects very attractive as you know that they value the investment that they have poured into the placement students. It would be hard to turn down working for such a company if it ever came to it.
There isn't a large number of placement students and as every placement student works in a different department of the business this does sometimes affect the group camaraderie. But in general, I know most students get on well with everyone. You cannot be best friends with everyone in life and there are enough students for you to get on very well with. The social scene is what you make it but there are no great barriers in making that happen!
The cost of living in the area was pretty standard price. I paid £500 per month to live in the centre of Epsom which gave me a 5 minute commute to work by car. The cost of socialising in the area was average prices too with a dinner costing £15-£20 and drinks at £5 for a glass of wine. The great thing about living in Epsom was the half an hour commute to central London, where you could go out after work and socialise. Another benefit is that a student travel card for London is only £8.45.
The nightlife in Epsom is pretty non-existent, however saying this London was half an hour on the train therefore easily accessible for drink after work or to go out on the weekend. There are also late trains back to Epsom after drinks in London and surrounding areas. However, Epsom has some lovely Pub and great restaurants in the area.
There were many activities offered to get involved with activities outside of work. Toyota GB Plc run a sports an social club which offered discounted gym membership to the onsite gym, discounted pub quiz nights and comedy nights and discounted tickets to events such as, the races and plays at the theatre. There’s a Sports & Socials club at Toyota which organises socials and events on a monthly basis but also run sports societies, which is a great opportunity to get to know lots of people in the company and have fun at the same time.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
17th June 2018