1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The Body Shop give their interns a lot of responsibility. I was given responsibilities beyond my ‘intern’ title, which was great as it helped me learn a huge amount and also gave me some amazing experience I could put on my CV that wasn’t traditional intern tasks such as admin and making tea (which I didn’t do once!). However with responsibility comes pressure and I think the company and some managers needed to recognise that we were at the very start of our career and sometimes tasks or blame was put on me when it wasn’t my responsibility. Often interns were used across the business as scapegoats.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My team were very good at recognising my work and what I contributed to the team. This especially improved as the year went on and their trust grew in my ability. By the end of the placement I felt they really appreciated me and didn’t want me to leave, which meant I left the company feeling positive about the work I had done.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
We were given very little formal training. I learnt a lot at the start through my own mistakes and had to find my own way. Whilst this wasn’t an entirely negative learning experience, it would have be good to receive a bit more guidance especially at the start of my year when it was a bit daunting.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I can only remember about 2 days throughout the whole year that I didn’t have work. 99% of the time I had a good and varied workload that kept me busy. There were a few periods that were a bit overwhelming but I think this should be expected of any job and it was a good learning experience.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
My team gave me huge amounts of responsibility which I was so grateful for. I left my placement with tonnes of amazing experiences that will be so useful in future interviews and jobs. I ran my own projects and they trusted me to see them through without micromanaging me.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
All of the skills I developed on my job are relevant to my degree and in future jobs. My writing skills in particular increased which is vital for a job in communications. I feel my skill set really increased during my time at The Body Shop and I’m excited to put these into use in the future.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office was generally quit a quiet place, although that was mainly reflective of the working style around me, it did differ across the business. The coming was also going through many changes during my placement so there was an atmosphere of excitement and hope but also tension and anxiousness a lot of the time.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
We didn’t receive much training, and that we did receive came too late into the placement. There was some structure at the start from HR but the managers needed more encouragement to stick to review processes and ensure they are checking in with the interns at the 6 month and year end mark.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Very little - I didn’t feel there was much formal training at all. They were definitely keen to help my develop but it was very informal and they didn’t work with me to work out how I could make the most of the placement and how I could benefit them most. It was more left down to my own review.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There are no opportunities for me to come back to the Body Shop after graduation unfortunately, which is a shame as you invest a year in the company and a team and want to come back. I’m hoping there are entry level jobs available in the future but it’s unlikely the timings will work out.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
All of the interns were really good friends and supported each other throughout the entire placement. The company also held a social before we began so we could meet the other interns and find potential housmates should we need them, and also get to know people before the first day which helped to make it less intimidating.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
For London, it wasn’t too bad. I felt my salary could cover it. Boxpark Croydon (a outdoor street food place which also has a bar and shows live sports) was right by the office which was great for lunches or after work drinks. The town centre was also only a 10 minute walk away. Most handy though was the station which is right next to the office, it only took about 20 minutes to get to central London from there.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There was no nightlife in Croydon unfortunately. There are a few bars in the town centre but they’re not really buzzing, it’s best to travel closer to central London for a proper nightlife scene. Clapham Junction isn’t too far by train and the interns enjoyed a few good nights out there.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes there were definitely opportunities. Living close to central London was amazing and there is a wealth of things to do there every weekend. The interns would often meet up and go do things in spare time, which made the year really fun and helped us bond outside of the workplace.