Project work in the Talent, Learning & Organsiational Development department (centre of excellence). Projects included: strategic workforce planning, learning technologies, inclusion and diversity.
I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year in Human Resources (Talent and Learning Centre of Excellence Department). It has helped me to gain invaluable skills and I was able to work on different projects across the department, enabling me to learn more about HR and different types of roles including project management.
I felt very valued by my colleagues at GSK. I was always provided with really helpful feedback on a regular basis and rewarded when I had done something well. I was also trusted as a key team member that did valuable tasks and genuinely helped the team - rather than just an intern that is there to make the coffee!
I had regular 1 to 1 conversations with my line manager and project managers where I felt very comfortable to raise any concerns or problems I'd had with doing work. Everyone I worked with was super helpful and friendly, and genuinely cared about my personal development and supporting me in the best way possible.
I was usually busy and would have tasks to fill my 9-5 day. However, with doing project work, I found that sometimes I had a lot of work on and would stay late to finish deadlines for various different projects at the same time, whilst other times I would be quite quiet. However, I always felt comfortable to raise this with my manager if I felt like I was being given too much or too little.
I was given a lot of responsibility at GSK, for example working on high profile projects with senior stakeholders at the top level of the company. I was also able to be Project Manager for one of my projects and I really enjoyed having this accountability and responsibility. There are always some admin tasks that everyone has to do - but the exciting stuff definitely outweighed this!
The skills I have learnt this year will definitely support me in my studies later on. For example, my organisational skills have really improved and I am much more confident in my time management and prioritising tasks. I've learnt essential communication skills and interpersonal awareness that will enable me to work effectively doing team work.
I found the GSK environment to be really great for me as it was really friendly and quite relaxed in terms of flexible hours and work life balance. Everyone is very passionate about what they do and this definitely shines through in the office. Overall it is a happy, warm and open atmosphere where you feel you can really work at your best.
The work placement is really well organised. I had a supportive line manager and various project work throughout the year which was organised effectively around my available capacity and my skill level (e.g. I started with less work so I had more time to get my head around it, but had some really challenging and exciting pieces a bit later on!). There are also loads of other opportunities to get involved in, including a social group for all the students and volunteering opportunities.
Everyone I worked with at GSK invested a huge amount of time and effort into my personal development by always being there to support me with my work and helping me to learn essential skills on the job. There is also lots of online training available where you can develop skills in almost anything including excel, body & mindfulness etc.
I would definitely consider working at GSK again at some point in the future because I really align to their values and it is a really exciting company to be a part of. They are doing so many great things on a global scale and you feel like you are a part of something big.
There is a really good social scene for placement students at GSK. In my office there was so many students it was hard not to make friends! There is also a social group called IP Unite that organise regular social activities for all the students such as a Christmas party and a summer boat party.
Living in London is definitely a more expensive option as the rent and general cost of living is much higher than anywhere else. However I have no regrets living in London with other placement students who were at GSK because you are definitely paid enough to get by and you feel much more involved when you are close to work and living with friends.
The nightlife in London is great and it's really easy to travel all around London so there is something for everyone! Right by the office there are some local pubs which are good for drinks after work.
There were lots of volunteering opportunities available to placement students such as helping out at The Big Bang Science Fair held at Birmingham NEC, or volunteering at the Wellchild Awards Ceremony. During my time there, we also took part in an Orange Day (a volunteering day all GSK employees are encouraged to do once a year) at a local school to teach them employability skills.