1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
In terms of the work that I had to carry out during my placement the enjoyment varied. This is due to the placement is a rotational based scheme giving you the chance to work in many aspects of the business. The time I spent in store was the most enjoyable but I feel like this is down to the fact I spent 3 months here and got to build relationships with other members of staff. The rest of the departments only gave me an overview meaning I spent an average of 2 weeks in every other department.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt extremely valued during my time within sales (store). I felt that I could add value to the company in this department. However once again in every other department I was present for around 2 weeks meaning that I was more of a hindrance to them rather than a help. Due to this I did not feel valued at all in any other department even though many times I sacrificed my own management training to do the job of a of a warehouse operative for example. I did feel valued during my time doing various projects, but when recommendations I gave to line managers where pretty much just brushed off without any considerations that was diminishing.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
In terms of support and guidance given by management I can not speak highly enough of the store manager and area manager I worked under whilst in my sales rotation with the former unsurprisingly being given a promotion shortly after I left. The training consultants have always been very helpful and supportive of any questions or problems that I had throughout the year. The only disappointment in this department is the fact that the leader of the program left shortly into the placement, mean the quality communication from the head office department assigned to look after all placements and graduates dropped noticeably not that it was outstanding in the first place (I moved away from home for this placement and they could not tell me the store I would be based in until my start date meaning I had to guess where I should rent a flat)
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
This like everything during this placement was purely dependent on what part of the rotation you were on. In store as you can imagine you never got a second to stop. In the offices its vastly different, I found myself constantly asking for things to do sometimes to the annoyance to the people around me. In the warehouse there is always something to do much like in store but it is different because there is no customers so it feels less rushed.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
During my placement I was given the responsibility of running shifts in my store on my own once I had completed my alcohol licence course. There was also times during the year where I was given various projects to work on and given basically a blank sheet on how to approach this. These were the only two times during the year where I felt as though I was given any sort of responsibility.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I attended seminars on various things that I can take back to university including a Tetramap course. I pushed to attend an alcohol licence course along with management training courses already scheduled into my training plan. The skills I learned most of though were outside of work skills like how to live on my own.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The general atmosphere in the offices were always relaxed and friendly with two even doing quizzes on a Friday afternoon. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. Once office however worked in silence and funny looks are given from other departments who share the same office if noise is made. A no music policy was employed in my region but this was not the case everywhere and certainly not in head office.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The organisation of the placement was average at best. Although I had a training plan given to me on my first day, like I stated previously I did not know my store until then nor the order of which my rotation would be taking place. Whilst switching departments it was always left up to me to chase the head of department to find out my shifts and to introduce myself. At times it was almost like they had forgotten that I was due to be with them.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company has invested a lot into myself and my counterparts. The courses I attended I know are not cheap. In terms of time I have taken up a lot of time off various people this year which has developed my management skills beyond what they were before hand and I am extremely thankful for this
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
One of the reasons I applied for this placement was the chance of obtaining a area management role with the company after university along with the 3rd sponsorship. Both of these things have now been taken away. The fact that I have done the placement would work in my favour if I applied for the grad scheme but nothing is guaranteed, despite the fact that the first year of the grad scheme is the same as the placement scheme. I also contacted (by email) the area manager for the stores back home about part time work whilst in 3rd year of university and received no reply. I then attempted to contact a recruitment office in the region back home via LinkedIn and once again received no response. However other placements have been given part time jobs.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Due to the fact that the placements are situated all over the country there isn't many chances to get together but when we did it was always a pleasure to be around them. In terms of other colleagues I played football on a Monday night with some of the lads from my store. Other than that there was nothing.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living was average as I decided to live in a city. However the other student in my region did not and he found it relatively cheap by all accounts. Rent was my biggest outlay. Fuel that you use to travel to anywhere that isn't your normal place of work is subsisted so that also makes a difference.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife in the area I worked was pretty poor. I live a half an hour drive from work which means the nightlife was different. It was like any other city. Many restaurants bars and clubs are in the city centre catering for all types of students. With other big cities less than an hour away too.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The majority of people in the company are family people, with the long days many just want to get home to family after they finish. Coupling that with the fact everyone spends 50 hours a week together no one really does activities with each other in there spare time unfortunately.