I loved my placement year at Volvo and this was mainly due to my colleagues and the opportunities that were provided. My team were an absolute pleasure to work with and I felt part of that team even from day one. I held responsibility and contributed to countless number of projects which resulted in extensively extending my social network leading to even further opportunities. I have developed many skills and gained an idea of a future career I would like to pursue. The past year as been extremely valuable in regards to professional and personal development.
Not only did I feel valued by my colleagues but by all employees at the Volvo Group. Everyone is extremely friendly and always willing to help. I never felt that I could not ask for help or seek advice from any individual. At the start of my placement like all others there is a lot of learning and information to retain so it is likely you will make mistakes within the first few weeks. However, I was never made to feel embarrassed but to understand that this year is all about development and learning.
The support and guidance I received from my manager was amazing!! We had weekly catch up meetings to reflect on past, current and future projects and as we sat next to each other it provided the opportunity to have conversations about everything and anything daily. However, the meetings were a great way to discuss in private my work load, seek support if needed and less/more work depending on my workload. Also, my manager was very supportive and understanding in regards to my personal life.
My workload varied weekly depending on the projects I was involved in. For example; during the height of the recruitment of advertising roles, filtering CV's and hosting interviews I was extremely busy and even had to work overtime to successfully meet deadlines. Although this felt overwhelming at the time, on reflection it was a great challenge and opportunity to develop my ability to work under pressure. On the other hand there were some quiet periods but these provided great opportunities to get involved in additional employee engagement initiatives opening further opportunities to extend my social network.
I believe I was given a huge amount of responsibility, although my core project of recruiting the following set of interns has now been carried out by previous HR interns for the past few years I was still able to make this my own and adapt it to how I wished. Regarding all projects I was set I had the opportunities to lead and take actions on my own ideas on thoughts. This was extremely rewarding to see your ideas come to life and integrated into the workplace.
My skills have developed immensely over the past year, all transferable to future studies and careers. To name a few: Patience - I have learnt that to be successful you need to be agile and able to adapt to the business dynamics. Networking skills - always make an effort to talk and smile at people as you never know what relationship this could result in. Self-resilience - ability to pick yourself up after stressful and hard times. Office Etiquette - how to act professionally and efficiently within any working environment.
The general atmosphere in the office was very welcoming and friendly. The layout was open plan so seeking advice easier and more comfortable. Also every morning and evening conversations about personal life would natural take place which made you feel very valued. Also, there is an open door policy in which you were encouraged and made to feel comfortable to approach the exec members in their office. There was a very inclusive feel at Volvo.
From my experience I thought the placement set up was very well organised. Like all other interns at Volvo, you attend an induction which covers all areas such as the companies values, polices, employee engagement etc during your first week. Then after this I received a thorough handover of advice and workload from the previous intern. Also throughout my placement I had regular one on one meetings with my manager to discus my workload and upcoming projects to ensure I always had something to be doing.
I thought the company and my manager invested heavily into my personal training and development. I was enrolled onto training courses such as interview training and managing discipline which massively developed my required skills to successfully complete the projects I was set but this will also be very beneficial for my final year studies at university. Further more, I was also granted with opportunities to gain training on skills I wanted to personally develop such as my excel knowledge.
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
Unfortunately, Volvo do not offer a UK graduate scheme so in regards to 'future employment prospects' at Volvo immediately after university this is probably unlikely as I plan to apply to graduate schemes which will obviously need to be to other companies. However, thinking about 'future employment prospects' much further into my career I would 100% come back to Volvo if the right opportunity came up. Volvo have been such a great company to work for and a highly admired their ways of working, culture and values. I have also enjoyed living within the Warwickshire area which also influences my decision to return.
Yes there was a good social scene amongst the interns. Although groups formed (which is natural) interns would eat lunch together. Also, for those that moved to the local area we often would do things after work and go on nights out on the weekend. However, the social side outside of work wasn't massive as many were busy with their own schedules and family life.
I thought the cost of living was very reasonable. I thought Leamington was a great place to work if you have interested in social events such as unique bars and live music. the restaurants and cafes were also great with a huge range of options! It is a beautiful place to live with the canals, Warwick Castle and the country side. Also, it is such an ideal place to live in regards to location and distance to cities. If an opportunity arises within Leamington in the future I would definitely consider relocating again to the area.
As previously mentioned, the area is great if you are interested in social events such as bars, live music and restaurants/ Although there are several clubs in which you can most certainty have a great night out, they are mostly full of young adults rather than university aged students. If you are looking for more lively / bigger night out I suggest catching a 30 minute train to Birmingham!
There were plenty of opportunities to get involved in outside of work such as local clubs, sport teams and gyms. However in regards to Volvo organising activities this is not something they really do. Getting involved outside of work with colleagues is really down to the efforts and plans the individual/team makes.
Placement Year (10 Months+)