1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my placement with Volkswagen Group UK during my year there. I was placed in a role where I was able to learn a large deal, and then was able to use what I had learnt over the remainder. My work was often used in important meetings, and I was often privy to not only experience them, but also play an active part.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My colleagues were fantastic. The immediate team I worked with was from a wide degree of ages and backgrounds, but from the beginning they treated me both as a member of the team, but also as someone who was able to provide insight and ability. I was greatly appreciative of the help they provided.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was given a large amount of support by management to begin with as I transitioned into my role. Learning about the industry was all new to me, so they took the time and effort to explain difficult concepts to me. As time wore on, there was less of a helping hand- this was beneficial as it allowed me to be independent in the tasks I was achieving.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The role varied in how busy it was. There were periods towards the beginning where I was left wanting, but understandably, the team and my boss had to get to understand my capabilities. There were also a few late days which were tiring, but this was not a frequent occurrence.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
A large amount of responsibility was given during my placement. I was able to present in front on key staff and colleagues, often positioned high up in the business. I was also asked to present to international colleagues on critical material, so it was a great honour. The responsibilities were handed on a basis of what was judged to be acceptable during my time.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The placement offered a small amount for my degree- none of the material taught at university translated into my work. However, it did hammer home the necessity for time management, presentation skills, adaptability and many others, that tie in a little to my degree, but will undoubtedly help in the future.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in the office was generally very positive. The brand I worked in was often receiving critical acclaim, and you very quickly tune into treating that success as your own. There were often smiles and friendly faces too, which helped in both settling in, and working within it too.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The company runs specific training courses for the placement students, both to help them settle in and to further broaden our horizons in the industry. There were development materials made available to- these would have ideally been filled and completed, but these were often neglected as they didn't offer a large amount of benefit.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company runs specific training courses for the placement students, both to help them settle in and to further broaden our horizons in the industry. There were also Microsoft Excel training courses, as well as presentation and emotional awareness courses. I'd argue that the company went too far in some cases, offering courses which were perhaps unnecessary.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The future employment prospects are appealing- the opportunity to go onto their graduate scheme is a fantastic offer. However, recent number of accepted graduates number as low as 6. There were upwards of 30 undergraduates in our cohort, and to fit us all into 6, not to mention with external applicants too.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was a large group of undergraduates, so we were able to come together as a group. The undergraduates largely sat together at lunch to speak with each other, and there was the occasional night out to go with it. Milton Keynes isn't conducive to a good social scene, but the benefit of having a car helps with this.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cost of living is fairly reasonable, depending on where in Milton Keynes you live. There are nice houses that are relatively expensive, but there are also cheaper options. There's a large amount of supermarkets to choose from, so the food and materials you buy are reasonably priced, as well as the cost of a pint.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Milton Keynes has awful nightlife. There are two 'clubs', but these are both dire in appearance and scene. Prices are inflated to London levels, so a night out can become very expensive very quickly. There are a few nice bars in central MK, but these are not typical student environments.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Somewhat- there are a few football matches played every week within the business, as well as a Netball group too. Typically there are a few family events that are subsidised for employees to enjoy, but they aren't exactly aligned with the student experience. There are things to do beyond that, but very few seeked them out.