1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed working with a variety of different people and having responsibilities from day one. I worked in several stores across central London with hundreds of different colleagues. However, it took me a while to adjust to the demands and expectations of the role.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt most valued when I was given accountability and responsibility, namely in the form of holiday relief towards the end of my placement. However I also had instances where I was left to my own devices with no clear role or direction.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
This depended on who I was working with and the level of responsibility I was given. Some line managers were great mentors and enablers. They would schedule regular feedback sessions and ensure I had adequate training. Others would do little to assist with my development unless prompted.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
In retail no day is the same so this would depend on various factors. This included the level of responsibility I was given, the store schedule, customer queries, management requests and store visits. On my busiest days I would barely have time to to squeeze in lunch. On my quietest days I would be going through the motions.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Over the course of 12 months I completed holiday relief for a Foodhalls with 50+ employees and line managed 3 floors of clothing and home. I led store visits from regional managers and I was accountable for customer service satisfaction in an Oxford Street Branch.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I have yet to return to university but I am confident the skills I have developed will assist me in the future. The level of responsibility I was given and the steep learning curve I experienced has given me confidence for my final year and future job opportunities.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
I would describe the atmosphere as professional. Generally everyone is very busy so converstaion is directed towards work.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The structure of the placement is well organised. I was given a workbook which outlined my attachments. I spent the first 5 months training alongside managers. However, I was responsible for my learning and sometimes I felt as if I wasn't given enough time and support to understand aspects of the role.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I spent 5 months attached to various business units and had access to several workshops during the year. I was assigned a mentor and I had quarterly milestone reviews.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Although I didn't particularly enjoy the role I am grateful for everything I have learnt this year and I recognise how valuable it will be in the future.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
For the first 3 months I worked with other placement students and grads who have since become good friends. Unfortunately, after 3 months they sent us our separate ways. I spent the majority of my placement working with colleagues who were significantly older than me.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived at home for my placement year but anywhere in London is expensive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Working on Oxford Street there are loads of options.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Aside from the odd charity day, not that I was aware of.