1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
In terms of personal development, I could not have asked for anything more. I was given a high level of responsibility and was immediately contributing to the effectiveness of my team. The programme itself is very well run, with an additional Undergraduate project that you complete in a different area of the business than your placement. The company is huge and so there is opportunity to network and form relationships with people in all different departments, which I was encouraged to do. However relocating to Milton Keynes brought some personal difficulties with it, effecting my overall score.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
At no point during my placement did I feel like I was an undergraduate. I was welcomed into my team and given the same respect and responsibilities as everyone else. There were projects that I was leading and working on in isolation, which meant that my team were relying on me alone to represent the company keep them informed on any developments.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was very lucky with my line manager who gave me fantastic support throughout the year in different ways. I had one on one meetings very often within the first 3 months and then as my confidence and knowledge grew she began to step back and encourage me to to work more autonomously. I was expected to make my own decisions and was definitely not spoon fed, however I always knew she was there if I needed. As part of the programme you have to have quarterly reviews with your line manager, which is quite useful in establishing where you are with your goals and how you are progressing throughout the year.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was extremely busy throughout my entire year, which sometimes got a little stressful. however, so were the rest of my team and this only showed that I was a valued member of the team that was very much needed. I also had university work to complete alongside my placement, which meant it sometimes, albeit rarely, got a bit on top of me.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a huge amount of responsibility on my placement year. I was the contract manager for one of our suppliers and also responsible for transitioning a service to a new supplier, everything from the tender process to the set up of the new supplier. This exposed me to many different aspects of the organisation and helped me network, as well as develop my confidence.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Placement was amazing in giving me so many skills that will be invaluable for my future career. Having never worked in an office environment before I learnt so much about office etiquette, professionalism, working in a pressured environment. Placement year also gave me an incredible amount of confidence that life after university will be alright after all!
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It is a very formal traditional office and I struggled at times being indoors at my desk for many hours at a time. I am a very social person and enjoy having people around me at all times. Due to the nature of my teams work, I would often also be the only person in, however that will differ in different teams. On a positive, I could always walk over to other teams to interact as the office is open plan.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I thought the placement was very well structured and set up. We had very clear objectives, set with our line managers, and quarterly meetings to review these. We also did a separate undergraduate project in a different area of the business which was really fun and allowed me to gain greater understanding for the wider business. Line managers helped to schedule in free time for this project which was good.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We were sent on many compulsory training courses including excel and powerpoint. However, you could sign up for as many training courses as you wanted, provided your line manager approved. I ended up doing a few really fun ones.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I am hoping to return to Volkswagen Group UK for their Graduate Scheme. I have no doubt that the experience I will gain and the opportunities I will be given will set me up for life. They are a really good company to work for.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were just under 40 Undergraduates and 12 Graduates, meaning that there were plenty of people to socialise with in the evenings. A lot of people do tend to go home though at weekends rather than stay in Milton Keynes which sometimes made it difficult.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Living in Milton Keynes is cheap in comparison to London, however not the cheapest city I have lived in.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There is not really a nightlife in Milton Keynes. There are a few bars and it does get lively, however I think it depends what you are comparing it to. In comparison to my university there it is very very quiet.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I did not get involved with many activities outside of work, however I did not really seek them out. I cannot confidently comment on whether the opportunity was there. I did do a charity mud run which was fun, but that is all I recall.