1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Don't be fooled into thinking that your placement will be fetching tea and coffee - it is a full-time roll and the company heavily rely on you to provide a standard of work equal to that of a full-term employee.
It is very intense but incredibly rewarding experience!
From day 1 you are given full ownership and responsibility of your role (with the necessary help to start with of course).
Aspects like free gym membership, subsided canteen, on-site post room etc all have their benefits too.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
This depends with how easily you gel with people and teams alike. Personally I found it very easy to make friends within the work-place and I will miss them when I go.
Important to note that getting along nicely with them doesn't directly correlate with being 'valued'.
I often found myself in times during my placement where I was producing work to a high quality to help the business, and was getting little to no recognition or thanks.
This was quite down-putting - but perhaps it depends on the team you are based in as I have colleagues in other departments who don't feel this way.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was lucky that the placement student before me stayed for several extra months so I was provided with a really high level of support and guidance.
Specifically from management, they are there if you need them, and are more than happy to be flexible with you as they want you to grow and develop too.
One thing to watch I would say however is that some management will take you for granted and therefore having the confidence to speak out where you feel you are being over-worked and under-utilized is important.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Generally the balance of business was okay. Some days were significantly busier than others whereas some days are used as days to catch up on anything missed during busier days so it seems to equal each other out.
Additionally, in the run-up to Quarter Ends and Year-End time frames, prepare to be extremely busy, meeting the demands of the business at the most crucial aspects for the financial year.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
From day 1 I was given responsibility regardless of my status within the company. You are expected to work at the same standard as a full-term employee and therefore should expect to be in charge of your own set of areas.
Personally, I found this incredibly daunting at first, particularly in the first 1-2 months - however once you get into the swing of things you will be wanting to take charge of more and more - which shows great progression to your management team, and reflects positively on you.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Personally, for my role I was given specialized training in SAP technologies which is something that is a huge benefit to me and my future career pictures.
There are often free excel sessions to join, which allows you to grow these skills - which you will need in a later business career.
You also learn a lot about communication, particularly emails - and this might seem like something you already know - however you have to tailor your email style to the specific contact and therefore this is a vital skill which you'll pick up on.
Additionally, your placement year will really help boost your confidence levels in yourself and your ability to understand how businesses operate. This is invaluable knowledge that will be so useful going forward.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
My department (Supply Chain) is relatively 'dull' in comparison with colleagues going to marketing or sales events/conferences around the UK.
My team has very little budget and therefore 'team outings' were not funded and didn't really happen.
I organised our teams christmas party, and monthly lunch time clubs which was self funded and everyone participated and enjoyed it.
Our area was also relatively quiet, compared to other areas on the office, but everyone is willing to chat and be friendly if you want to be.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Can't really fault the set up.
Management was organised, teams clearly defined, and working instructions present.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
- SAP Training
- Excel Training
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I am not sure that a career in J&J is necessarily my #1 goal after placement.
While I have learnt invaluable things, and had a good experience, I didn't enjoy the company culture within my department and this has put a slight downer on my time here.
With that being said, other areas in the company are not like that at all and therefore I wouldn't stop myself from coming back and giving it another go.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Social cliques form very quickly so make sure you chat to everyone and aren't shy about pushing yourself out there and meeting up.
There was quite a few placement nights out etc.
Most placements eat lunch together every day or go for walks which is nice.
Pick your living situation wisely - otherwise you can end up miserable for the year - don't recommend.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Living in the reading area is generally affordable. It has all your classic food/night venues and shops, so shouldn't be too dissimilar to what you already have.
I know that my rent was significantly more down south then I was paying at uni - but bills and utilities were roughly the same if not cheaper.
Only cost to think about is petrol if your driving to and from work as this isn't usually a cost for those at uni - but then again you are on a salary so it isn't un-affordable.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Reading has several clubs - from cheesy pop to heavy D&B.
London is close by train (20min)
Maidenhead has 1 night club and a few bars
It's relatively average to be honest, but satisfies the needs nonetheless.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
- Lots of opportunity to attend volunteering events
- Cricket/Football/Touch Rugby/Netball teams
- Team nights out (if organised)
- Free gym membership