1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The programme was an amazing experience and it offers an incredible amount of personal development. You have a real opportunity to challenge yourself and are given full responsiblity for the running of your department. Given the level of responsibilty and the short time frame, the internship comes with a lot of pressure and a steep learning curve. However, the end result brings a great sense of achievement and I have learned so much about myself in the process. The skills and experiences I have been given will benefit me for the rest of my career.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt valued by the management team and colleagues in my store and they made me feel a real part of the team. However, it can be difficult to get to know the whole team in a store of 300-400 colleagues in just 10 weeks.
I had the full support of the team in my department from the outset, and they were incredibly supportive during the 2 weeks when I had the opportunity to run the department.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was given excellent support by my store team; having weekly development meetings with my two mentors. They offered frank but incredibly useful feedback which allowed me to develop key skills even in the short time frame of the internship.
The office team were also very supportive, however in stores you can often feel quite isolated in comparison to the office-based programmes.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Stores are hectic and I was never short of things to do. There is so much to learn and do in 10 weeks - including supporting colleagues on the sales floor, completing administrative and personnel duties, visiting other stores, as well as completing supporting training.
In addition to your work in store, you also have several visits to the office in Welwyn where you have the opportunity to visit the Customer Engagement Centre and take part in Insights Discovery.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The level of responsibility as an intern was unprecedented. I was treated as a manager from day one and was given the opportunity to fully take the reigns of my department, and even getting to experience duty management of the store. You are treated no differently by colleagues to the rest of the management team.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
As part of the store management team I had an amazing opportunity to work on my leadership skills, as well as learning to adapt quickly to a new environment. I learned a lot about myself during the internship, and the experience and skills I developed will help me for the rest of my career.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in stores can vary dependent on where you are placed.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The programme was generally organised very well. My store management team were very prepared and passionate about having me in the store and had good knowledge of the programme.
The only area I felt could be improved is the organisation of the office development days in future. These were incredibly interesting and insightful, however I feel that more could be incorporated into these - especially as it involves a lot of travel to Welwyn Garden City.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The personal development of the internship is by far one it’s strongest assets. During the 10 weeks, my personal development was the focus and I was given the opportunity to receive an Insights Discovery report which greatly aided this. The internship not only gives you an insight to the role of a store manager, but it teaches you a lot about yourself and gives you a valuable insight into your natural strengths and development areas. I can honestly say that after the 10 weeks, I have a completely different perspective on my career going forward.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The company made an excellent impression and I would love to work for them in future. After deciding that I did not want to pursue a career in stores, I was recommended for a place one on of next years office programmes - which suits my career interests more closely. I am fortunate to be given this option and I feel valued as a result.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Due to being placed in a store far away from the office, it was not possible to socialise with the other interns beyond the induction week. This can be quite isolating at times - in future it would be great if more socials could be organised for the office and store interns during the development days when we are in office.
However, there was a good social atmosphere in store, and I had the opportunity to take part in charity fundraisers
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I was able to work in a store near my home therefore I did not have to relocate.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I worked primarily in my hometown therefore there wasn’t much nightlife.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The stores are very active in charity and community work. Therefore, I had several opportunities to fundraise with colleagues; such as a sponsored mountain climb.