Production Engineer- This job was effectively a project management role in which engineering knowledge needed to be applied to.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I've loved working at Toyota. I've really enjoyed the challenge and independence I had.
What made it so much more enjoyable was that I was trusted to do jobs myself right from day one. That thought may seem scary but at Toyota there is always someone willing to help you if you struggle, and that's what is great about it- the people. Everyone is so helpful and friendly.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I always felt like I could get involved in colleagues work and even suggest my own ideas to them. At first you feel like you shouldn't challenge someone that could often have over 20 years of experience but you soon learn that it is always appreciated. It is all about working together at the end of the day, so people will always listen to what you have to say... even if sometimes you might say a silly idea.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I loved the level of support I received from my manager. It felt totally tailored to me, in the fact that I only got support when I needed it. So I never felt like I was drowning, but equally I never felt that I was being over managed/patronised. I felt like I was totally trusted by my management to do the job.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was never bored because there was always something for me to do, and if I wanted I could ask to be pushed further to make myself busier. But that was totally up to myself, if I'd have wanted, I could have finished on time most days, but I chose to do extra work because that's what I enjoyed doing.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I feel like I was given a fairly large responsibility right from the start, which I absolutely loved. It meant that I felt like I was trusted and it was nice to be able to put my own name to things. Being able to say I did whole projects by myself gave me a lot of satisfaction.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Learning the Toyota Way is something that I will take with me forever, companies across the world try to copy the Toyota way, so to be able to learn it from Toyota itself was extremely valuable.
Besides courses that I completed, I developed my transferable skills massively- communication and persuasion were two skills that I developed largely, and are skills that you don't really develop at university. These are skills you can carry with you into all walks of life and not just your future career.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
At first it seems scary because it is so large, and people seem to be working so robotically.
But after a while, you soon start to see peoples personalities come through, and people are always up for a joke. If you want it to be like a Google office then you're coming to the wrong place, but that's the case across all manufacturing. So it's not the most pretty, but you'll still enjoy the atmosphere.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I thought the placement was well organised, with a good first introductory week that made me feel settled and allowed me to learn more about the company itself. There were also multiple courses throughout the year which were spread out nicely. Learning and Development teach you good background skills that you can apply in your work.
If I had to improve it in any way, I think it would be good if we had to experience another role for a short time, even 2 weeks, just to experience a different type of job.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
When working at Toyota, there was never a day where I didn't learn something. As mentioned before, the courses that we went on with the learning and development team helped give us the fundamental skills to be able to execute our jobs better. I never felt like the placement lacked in terms of development.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Over the last few years, it seems that promotions are not as frequent as they perhaps once were when the plant was built, due to people being settled in their job, which it so be expected. However, looking to the future, I believe that many job opportunities will be arising as older members of staff leave the company for retirement.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I made quite a few friends while being on placement here, and we did social activities frequently, however I felt like it would have been a bit better if there were more placement students/graduates. All in all though, I had a good social life during my time here at Toyota.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Derby is good in the fact that everything is relatively low price. Renting here, I found was probably the cheapest area I have lived in, and I never struggled with finding money to pay for rent in terms of salary etc.
In terms of social activities, prices were fairly standard. But like anywhere, it is up to you how much you spend.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Derby isn't the best place for night life with it being such a small city, however I still had some good nights out there. Nottingham however is not far away and has a really good nightlife. With Derby being located in the middle of the country, you are fairly close to most cities, if you really want - London is 2 hours away on a train, as is Manchester.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I think the biggest area where the placement lacked was probably in social activities with your team, unfortunately most people that work here have families, which obviously makes it very difficult for you to organise events. However we did still do things and I had a great time, I've learnt that despite some people in my team being 50, and me being only 21, you can still get along very well just as you would with your friends.