1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My work placement at HPE was a mixed bag of emotions that can be split into three sections. The beginning; this was great, i felt welcomed and a part of a team that had a real culture and loved being part of it. The middle; this was the worst section of my placement, for around 3 months i had no real work to do, i had to make myself busy doing online courses and the work i was given was very admin based. However, nor my manager or the recruiting staff can be blamed for this, it came about due to some huge organisational restructuring. The end; this was fantastic and by far the most enjoyable 4 months of the placement, i was given large responsibilities such as events management and was able to share the knowledge i had gained from the previous 9 months regarding a GTM program, generating partner sign ups.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Despite the many changes and corporate restructuring, I have always felt valued by my manager and extended team. They know i am there and they have always trusted me to get the job done. Although, I did feel slightly undervalued in the middle section when i had little work to do i soon came to realise that this was the case for my managers and extended team too, it was not them undervaluing me.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I have been supported and guided by my manager throughout my placement year. He has always been there to answer any questions and has always taught me that there is no such thing as a stupid question. I felt like i could go to him at any point with any queries.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
This all depends on which section of my placement i refer too. For the first 2 months i was settling in and getting trained up so was busy every day. Then it settled down somewhat, people were on holiday but then around September it picked up again. I helped organise the logistics of a major event which kept me busy for a few months, gaining valuable experience along the way. The middle section (December to February) I barely had any work to do, I was having to make myself busy doing online courses and learning about various programs HPE had to offer. The end of my placement was great, i had just the right amount of work to do to keep me busy every day, i was given responsibility and my extended team trusted me much more to get bigger jobs done.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Throughout my placement year i worked on several projects and events where i was given a large responsibility or even the whole responsibility. Some examples include organising the logistics for 30 senior people (HPE and Partners) at one of our global events. I also organised for our partners to attend several cricket matches in the summer. The biggest responsibility I was given was to be the main source of knowledge on our GTM program, i was the only employee inside our team that had the knowledge to speak openly with partners about how it worked. I lead calls and created my own contact to present to fairly senior people outside the organisation.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills i developed (such as time management, attention to detail, events management, people management, confidence to talk and many more) will help me massively in my final year at university and my future career path. My degree requires a huge amount of group work and this year has taught me how to work in a group efficiently, taking proper notes at meetings, tracking progress etc. are all key parts of completing a task as a student on my course.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The majority of people that were based in my office were sales people and only came in to the office 2 days a week max. We did have a small number of people that came in 5 days a week but other than that it was just the interns (around 50 of us) that were in all the time.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The handover period was a great idea, well structured so that the old interns stayed for a month whilst teaching the new interns everything we needed to know. We also got the chance to stay in Reading Uni halls for the first month to get to know people which was great. However, I think it's fair to say that the company went through huge changes whilst i was there which definitely affected the balance of proceedings, the overall structure could've been better. I didn't see much in the way of development talks from senior management, workshops or anything of a similar nature. Reviews with my manager were not really a thing either, there needs to be more structure.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Apart from the obvious learning on the job I wasn't really given or told about opportunities for training that i could take, even if i did know, at times i was too busy to be able to do things like that. I think there should be a structured system whereby the interns are told right away and have to complete one training (5 hours' worth) a quarter, of their own choice.
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?
I haven't been told about any graduate roles apart from moving to Erskine in Scotland to enrol onto the graduate sales school, which doesn't appeal to me at all. Even this role hasn't actually been confirmed to me as being open. I may have considered a job at HPE after University had i been told of my options.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes, there was 50 interns at our site and although we had the obvious sub groups we still inter mingled and went out on socials probably once a month. I never felt like i had no one to speak to and as the desks were free address desks, anyone could sit anywhere so we all congregated in one area which made for a much more pleasant and social working environment.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
High. Having lived in the North of England all of my life i was surprised at how expensive the cost of living was in Reading. Social events became twice as expensive as i was used to, shopping, rent and bills also all more expensive. I guess it taught me to manage my money more efficiently though.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Not great. There was a limited number of clubs in Reading, only one of which we went in more than 3 times. However with London only being a 20 minute train journey and trains on until 1.30am the possibility of travelling to London was there, although this was expensive it was an option once a month.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I was part of the intern committee who organised events outside of working hours both for socialising and also for charity. I feel as though, at the start, we organised a large number of social events, but the it started to drop off, small groups formed and did their own things, which was fine but people who weren't involved in these groups were slightly left out.