1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I have really enjoyed my placement year at the Association of British Insurers and have learnt many new skills as well as built on those acquired at university. I have improved my independence greatly and feel far more confident and prepared to graduate than I did six months ago before I started my placement year. Beyond my role, I have met fantastic people across the organisation and learnt a lot about an industry that I previously knew nothing about.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Feeling valued has strongly developed my motivation for the role and it has improved my confidence to know that the work I do is meaningful to my colleagues. Collaborating with teams across the organisation has meant that I must make sure that I focus on areas that they think are important in order to provide the most value. I receive positive feedback from my colleagues and often get asked further questions which helps to develop my own understanding as well as helping others.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Working very closely with management and my supervisor has meant that I have been given continuous support and guidance throughout the placement, especially in terms of personal development. Regular meetings with my line manager have meant that I have kept track of my objectives and my manager has assisted me in working out how I can achieve these. The HR team have also provided me with lots of opportunities for professional development, including courses and professional examinations.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
How busy I am is very dependent on the time of year, and so far in my placement I have experienced times where I am very busy and times when I am very quiet. However, I have always found opportunities to work on additional pieces of work when I am quieter, which has allowed me to develop new skills and competencies. Especially now I am further into my placement, I have found lots of smaller pieces of work that I can do which will improve processes for both myself and future placement students.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The level of responsibility is quite high within the placement role. We are expected to run data collections and publish reports, but with oversight and support which means that I never feel overwhelmed or incapable of taking on this responsibility. I think this ties in with the question on feeling valued, and the responsibility that I have for certain data collections has meant that my work is more valued. This is demonstrated when I am approached directly by colleagues with questions. Without support and guidance from my team I think this responsibility would be a lot more difficult to take on, so I am very fortunate that I work in such a friendly and open environment.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
From a technical perspective, my skills in Microsoft Excel and other business software has improved considerably and these are skills which I will need both in my studies and beyond. Further to this, my personal development this year has put me in a far better position to face graduation and I put this down to the support and guidance from my line manager and the opportunity that the ABI provides its employees. Networking, mock interviews and goal setting are areas that have helped me to steer my placement to focus on improving key competencies which will help me in graduate recruitment. The year has been a great first step into the world of work and has made me ready to start my career!
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office is a very friendly open environment; everyone is on the same floor in an open office setup. Because there are only 100 people in the organisation, everyone knows each other and is very friendly. We also have a nice lunch area where you can have informal meetings or socialise at lunch times.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The work placement has been set up very well, both in terms of support/guidance and meaningfulness of the work I undertake. Throughout the on boarding process HR made sure that I was settling in well and made sure that I had all the necessary inductions and training. The team is quite small which helped me to settle in quickly and the team have placement students every year so are used to the processes involved with this. I have had reviews throughout the placement which has helped me to stay on top of my development goals.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There are many opportunities offered to placement students as well as permanent staff at the ABI. HR organises many different courses throughout the year that placement students are able to sign up for. I also had an introduction to the insurance industry from the Chartered Insurance Institute when I joined, and I have the opportunity to study for the CII Certificate Insurance. This is a great opportunity to build up industry knowledge and I have really enjoyed doing this.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Due to the size of the organisation, there is no graduate scheme at the ABI and although graduates are recruited, this is only when a space becomes available. However, even though there will be no job offer at the end of my placement, the ABI have provided me with many opportunities to improve my graduate employability, such as mock interviews, presenting and networking opportunities.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There are only four placements students at the ABI, two of which are in the Data & Analytics team. However, there is a good social atmosphere in the organisation and we have a Sports and Social Committee that organise events which is very helpful at the start of the placement for getting to know people from across the organisation.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
London is expense and I am fortunate that I am from London and so have lived at home during my placement year. However, there are still loads of free things to do in London and we have microwave, fridge, tea and coffee facilities in the office so you don’t have to buy lunch everyday (this saves so much money!). There are lots of things to do in the City, so socialising is very easy! There are also great transport links to other parts of London.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The pubs and bars in the City are usually busy from 5 o’clock onwards on Thursdays and Fridays (sometimes even earlier!). As mentioned above, it’s also easy to get to other parts of London where there are other bars and clubs.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are loads of different activities you can get involved with; both work-organised and not. The ABI has a choir and organise lots of other activities such as board game socials, quiz nights etc. London itself has tons of different activities you can get involved in. I personally took Spanish classes to try and learn a new language. This was really fun and was a good way to meet different people in the city.