I am working in the Procurement department at J N Bentley as a materials buyer. In short, this means that I provide sites across the UK with a range of materials, ensuring 100% availability at all times in the most efficient and economical way so that site agents can complete their daily jobs on site.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I am really enjoying my placement year. When applying for a placement, I thought I would be able to get a flavour of working life and the kind of tasks that I may one day be doing, however here at J N Bentley I am able to experience this first hand as a valued and equal member of the purchasing team.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I feel very valued by my colleagues, I am given lots of responsibilities and seen as an equal. I am working in the Procurement department at J N Bentley as a materials buyer. In short, this means that I provide sites across the UK with a range of materials, ensuring 100% availability at all times in the most efficient and economical way so that site agents can complete their daily jobs on site.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
A key skill that I am developing every day is my negotiation skills. J N Bentley really focus on helping me as a placement student to develop my negotiation skills as it is such an important skill for my job role, therefore I am undergoing regular training to develop my negotiation skills.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I am very busy with different roles every day. My main role is to source items that are required by sites at the best rates and the best lead times which involves speaking to lots and lots of different suppliers every day. I collect the rates from the different suppliers and then do a comparison of the different important factors such as the quality of the material, the price and the time it will take the supplier to get this material to site.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I am given lots of responsibility at J N Bentley, which is very rewarding and working here has massively exceeded my expectations. I buy materials just like any of the buyers and I am able to manage expenditures of high values without any supervision or advice from my fellow colleagues.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I believe self-management is a critical skill which I have developed. I have become much more responsible in terms of planning my time and organising my days to achieve my goals and targets. One way I have done this Is by using a daily planner. Every morning I write down the tasks I am setting myself to complete for that day, whether they are big or small, and ensure I complete them. I think this make tasks more achievable as when something is written down you are automatically more motivated to achieve this goal.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office is a really fun and friendly environment. Everyone gets on really well and it is an open environment where help is always available. I don't feel nervous to ask for help as everyone is very welcoming and offers help wherever they can. We also have lots of activities take place out of this office which really helps create good relationships.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very organised! On the first day, I was given a placement pack which included everything I needed or may want to know about the placement. This also included a guide of how to operate the system and a personal learning plan to follow throughout my placement year. This helped me to know where I should be and If i am on track.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The firm did lots to invest in me. I have attended several training days in several areas. For example, they have invested heavily in negotiation training which is a key skill that I can now use for the rest of my life. This has been achieved by training days and setting personal targets to put into play and experience negotiating first hand.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Future employment prospects are appealing as if I am successful and get offered a graduate job, I will be funded throughout my last year of University and have a graduate job to return to once I have completed my degree. This is appealing as it means I can focus on my studies in my final year.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes, we go for drinks or meals very often throughout the week and have also organised several nights out over the weekend. There is four placement students on my team which is nice as it creates more opportunity for socialising than if there was only one or two placement students.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Financially, completing a work placement is obviously very different than being a University student. I am now receiving a salary of £16500, as well as a student loan of £1976, in comparison to a student loan of £3982 alone for the year last year at University. My monthly cost for this year is only around £200, which is the cost of fuel for my commute.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife is a lot quieter than city life as Skipton is only a town however there is lots and lots of bars and pubs, several restaurants and also a nightclub in the town centre. Skipton also feels very safe and I have never felt threatened at night which is good.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There is a lovely gym a couple of minutes’ walk away from my workplace called Grand Fitness, which has been very helpful in terms of trying to keep active. Another great place to visit is Keelham Farm Shop which has a café/restaurant, bakery, juicery, flower shop, award winning butchers and lots more - making the most of the excellent local produce.