1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
At Gist there are days which are very rewarding and also days that are challenging, especially at the start of placement. When you learn how the operation is run and know your team it becomes much more enjoyable. On an individual level I have gained a variety of different skills as you get a lot of responsibility.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
At Gist your given lots of responsibility and play a key role in the day to day running of the operation. Teams managers were always free to offer guidance and answer any questions.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
There was a lot of support available during my time at Gist as you have training days during the year. Furthermore, I was given a mentor from a different depo which I contacted thought out the year which I found really useful as I could discuss any subject or questions I had about the company as well as visiting their site.
In the warehouse you had to learn on the job with team managers in how to preform your role. During my placement there was a lot of senior management changes throughout the year, from that perspective they had little time to contribute to my development as they were shorthanded, and the operation was always the priority.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
It varied week to week. This is as it depended on the volume of work required and how well staffed the operation is. There was always different kind of work to do if you asked for it. I was especially busy at peak times of the year such as Christmas, Easter and summer.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As a manager at Gist I was given lots of responsibility which means you make decisions which impact on the business, sometimes leading teams of up to 40/50 employees. At the start this could be quite daunting as they would ask questions which you couldn’t answer. However, as you learn more about the role you will become more confident to help them out. There are also opportunities for projects throughout the year which you develop your skills.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
There are many different skills which you gain such as managing people and time organisation which will be useful when returning to university and my future career as you find yourself in different scenarios. You also meet a lot of new people on placement year which can help develop with communication skills.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
There was always ups and down over the year, especially at peak times of the year. But overall there was a positive attitude in the office and lots of fun. It was also enjoyable on the shop floor but it was more professional as those were the employees you needed to manage.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
At the start I felt the placement was organised and structured. Firstly, there was an induction training and sessions throughout the year to develop my management skills. However, in the depo it was less organised as it was down to my line manager who was often under time pressure to get results so found little time to organise training for me and required me on the shop floor rather than experience different departments in the business. I often had to go and arrange things myself to develop if I wanted training.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company invested heavily in formal training as there was lots of training days in head office and other locations to develop management and communication skills. They also sent me on a 3 day health and safety course.
The training for the day to day role was a lot more limited as it was down discretion of the depo. This was learnt on the job and once you had been shown you would be left to figure the rest out on your own.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
If you are flexible in your location and willing to relocate, then there are clear opportunities to advance your career quickly in the organisation, it would be much slower if you stayed in one location. This is shown when you meet previous graduates who each have had a different experience within the company and they speak to you about their pathway.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Each placement student is placed at a different site, so it means there are not very many people your age at the site which can limit the social scene within the company. The placement students meet up several times a year which is really good and sociable where you can share you experiences. In the depo we went on nights out occasionally and played football every so often.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I was based in Bristol so I found it more expensive the living at university, but could still live within the means of the salary and have a good social life.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Bristol has a great nightlife as it has a high amount of university students in the area, so can suit whatever social life you want.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The opportunities are there if you go looking for them, Bristol is a city that has a lot going on.