I thoroughly enjoyed my work placement for the majority of the time spent working here. I was made to feel very welcome in my team and given more than enough support by not only my manager, but also by my colleagues. The only times that I didn't enjoy my time a the company were in select high pressure periods where deadlines are fast approaching. These were very few and were periods I had been expecting before starting my placement.
I felt very valued by my colleagues during my time at the company. They made me feel very welcome when I joined and made a good effort to get to know me during the year. Part of my role included running reports for various members of the team. They guided me through this process and gave me support when I needed it. I also had the opportunity to regularly socialise with them outside of working hours during team organised events.
I believe I was given a good level of support during my placement year. I had regular meetings with my manager about my progress and the areas that I needed to improve upon. We would also discuss extra tasks or projects I could take on in order to develop these skills. The only times I felt unsupported where generally during busy deadline periods, however I understand that my manager also has other employees to support at this time.
My busy days during my placement tended to fluctuate depending on the period we were in. Some periods during the year (for example, month ends) required me to perform a lot more tasks in order to meet tight deadlines. During this time, I would find myself overly busy and could stay longer than more usual working hours. In the quieter periods, I could find myself with a lot less to do.
I was given a lot of responsibility during my placement year. As part of my role, I was tasked with preparing budgets and a variance analysis for senior members of staff at Johnson and Johnson. I would then be asked to prepare and present a presentation to them. I was also given the opportunity to lead projects within my team.
I believe I have been able to learn and develop many vital skills during my work placement year. I now have experience and training on systems such as excel, SAP and TM1. I have also been able to develop my communication and presentation skills as my role included presentations to senior members of staff and speaking up in team meetings. These skills will be very useful at university as I have now had the chance to put the accounting theory into practice. The skills have also helped with my confidence and personal development going forward.
I found the atmosphere in the office to be appropriate to the work level and deadlines the team had at the time. Generally, the atmosphere was very friendly and it is very common to be able to chat with your colleagues during the day. In busier periods, the atmosphere seemed to be more serious as there was a general acknowledgement that deadlines needed to be met on time.
The work placement was very well organised. My roles and responsibilites were layed out ready for me when I started with my team and it was very clear who I would be working with, what I would be doing and when I was expected to be at work. There was also a member of staff that set up meetings for me to get to know the other important people and teams that were based in the office. She also informed me about the amenities and perks the office offered and about any socials events that took place. The improvement I would suggest is communicating to the student the nature of work they would be undertaking prior to starting as this is something I only learned on my first day.
The company invested a lot of time into my personal training and development. When I first joined the company, my manager set goals and objectives with me. We would then have regular meetings to assess this, to tell me what I was doing well and where I could improve. I have completed formal trainings on accounting systems and have also had the opportunity to complete extra, non-compulsory training such as a workplace mental health awareness course.
Johnson and Johnson offer a graduate scheme for when you have completed your degree. During my year, I have been able to meet other graduates to gain their experience on the scheme and sit in on an introduction with one of the schemes coordinators. This is entry by application only and as a previous placement student, I would be highly considered if I were to apply.
The placement students and I kept in touch through a group chat. As often as we can we would go for dinner or organise nights out. There is a particularly good social scene with my team. We regularly catch up after work with drinks and someone in the team organises socials for use. These include bowling and laser quest.
The cost of living in the area I work in is more expensive than I am used to at university. The area the office is based houses a lot of families and is not student based which is what I am used to. I therefore found prices for shopping such as food and drinks was quite expensive.
The office is based in a small town and didn't have a lot of nightlife to offer. There are plenty of pubs and restaurants, although I found them to be quite expensive, especially for drinks. I didn't manage to find any that stayed open quite late, I therefore spent a lot of time in the Reading which offered a lot more nightlife.
There were endless opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work. The company offers you 5 days of paid leave a year to undertake CSR days. I have spent 2 days this year volunteering at a children's camp helping to maintain the site. The office also has a social committee who organise outside of work events. I have been to the races during my year and I have also been to a Summer party and a Christmas party.