1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my work placement. I found the role very versatile, encompassing both creative and data driven work. I worked across two brands so had the opportunity to understand and cater to different consumer groups. I felt I had a lot of responsibility, and given numerous opportunities to lead my own projects.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt like a valued and fundamental member of the team. The amount of responsibility I was given by my manager meant I was leading projects and completing vital tasks for the brand. Therefore, I always felt that I was as equally as important and valuable within the team as anyone else.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Within my team I had my line manager, my day-to-day manager, and also the assistant brand manager. I therefore had a lot of support from my team and able to go to any of them with any issue or question. I had weekly catch ups with all three of them and we all kept in the loop with eachothers work load.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was always busy - with the nature of the role there is always things to be done, and as a team we had a really large workload with relatively small resource. But for me this wasn't a bad thing - I never got bored and enjoyed the work I was doing. It could get overwhelming at times but my manager would always help me prioritise workload and remind me the importance of work life balance when I had a lot on.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
From the start of my placement I was given a fair amount of responsibility. All placements have the responsibility of their brand's budget from the outset, and I had this responsibility across two brands. As time went on and I became more up to speed with my role, I was given more and more responsibility. By November I had led and delivered a full PR campaign over 4 weeks, and by the end of the placement I was leading multiple projects at once.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I developed invaluable skills for my future career, and general life skills such as interpersonal skills, presentation skills, analytical skills etc. They will help with my degree to an extent, however I feel they will be far more valuable once I have actually graduated and looking to get my career started.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The culture at J&J is one of the best things about the company; everyone is friendly and approachable. I was very close with my team and we were friends outside of the office too, so it was a very sociable environment. It makes it far easier to get jobs done and work cross functionally, because everyone is so friendly.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement year is very structured and organised. There are clear expectations of the placement students laid out at the beginning of the year, and quarterly appraisals so you can understand how you're getting on and how you can improve. The only criticism was the process of applying for graduate schemes was unclear - we were told different things by different people on what the process would entail.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We were put on a training scheme when we joined, requiring us to complete multiple online trainings per month, including CM1, project management training, and leadership training. There were also frequent breakfast and learn sessions, where we could be upskilled in software such as Nielsen, Kantar, Excel etc.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There is a specific graduate application programme for those who have already completed a placement year and looking to return as a graduate. It allows fast track into the programme. Traditionally the chances of coming back as a graduate are high, however due to business transformations currently, the headcount of students able to return as graduates is uncertain and will be far less.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes - the placements all got on really well and there were frequent socials at the weekend. I lived with two other placement students and we became really close and always did things together. My team were also very sociable and we organised frequent meals out/drinks, especially after busy periods at work.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Rent was quite pricey for students, however I was used to this as where I go to university has similar sort of rent prices. General cost of living (bills etc) was standard. We frequently did socials in London which was expensive, however if we stuck to Reading or Maidenhead it was far less pricey.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I worked in Maidenhead which doesn't have a very good nightlife. It wasn't awful, however if we wanted to do something more lively we would go to London or Reading. I lived in Reading which was far more lively and has more going on because it is a student town.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
We could take 5 volunteering days as part of our year on placement. There are also J&J employee resource groups, including CAST, Diversity and Inclusion, and Open and Out. Outside of work, its up to the individual to find activities they are interested in. I joined a local netball team in Reading.