1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I loved my year long placement at Toyota GB. I was given a ownership of some big projects, yet supported through every milestone. The company culture is excellent, and has proved a wonderful place to work. Toyota provide lots of training, meaning you develop transferable skills that can be used on a day-to-day basis.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I have felt incredibly valued by my colleagues - you are not treated as a student, but as a full-time member of staff. Colleagues value your opinion and treat you with respect. There is an excellent culture at Toyota, where you feel comfortable to approach any member of staff regardless of grade.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I have had a very supportive manager and team, who have provided motivation and advice across the year. I've had weekly 1-2-1s with my manager to talk through my work and it also provided opportunity for me to raise an issues. You are set clear objectives which guide the areas of work you should dedicate your time to, as well as what goals you are aiming to achieve.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
My role was very busy, particularly during key milestones for certain projects. Day-to-day my time was perfectly balanced and I felt comfortable with the workload. As I approached the end of big projects I did notice an increase in the workload, however I was supported when I did feel under pressure.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a lot of responsibility! I was responsible for two big projects, each with a £20,000 budget which was my sole responsibility. Both projects involved a number of internal and external stakeholders, and I had complete responsibility to manage these relationships. The great thing about being given responsibility is that I had the autonomy to run the projects in my own way, and I could inject a bit of creativity into the work.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I have developed a lot of skills over the year, most noticeably communication and organisational skills. I think that I will be better able to manage my time and workload more effectively when returning to Uni. I also feel incredibly motivated to complete my degree to a high standard, as I would like to be in a strong enough position to gain a role like I have had for the past year.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
For a corporate, there is a very relaxed atmosphere in the office. I would describe Toyota as 'work hard, play hard'. Everyone puts in the hours and gives 100%, but equally all will let their hair down and have a laugh. The atmosphere in my team was brilliant - we had a lot of fun, but also everyone worked incredibly hard.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
My role was very well organised, I had clear projects to get involved with as well as day-to-day tasks. At the start I had a two week handover with the previous student, which was a great way to immerse myself into the role. You can learn an awful lot in two weeks! We had a clear timetable of training sessions as well, which provided us with many valuable skills.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Toyota put so much investment into training! I did everything from learning how to present, to innovation, to how to best word an email. A lot of time was invested into your own personal development, as well as learning about the company culture and how the Toyota mantra's filter down into your own line of work.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Toyota offer a very robust graduate scheme, which will appeal to students who want to gain a broad overview of the business. It offers a very competitive salary and gives you the opportunity to work your way around the business. A great way to network and learn about how the company works.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were 20 students within my cohort, and we had a very active social life. A lot of us lived together, and we also would work together (depending on which department). The social scene outside the student cohort is also really good. The Sport and Social Club organise some brilliant nights out that were a lot of fun!
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living is pretty high in Epsom, as we are in the London commuter belt. However, I never struggled financially, and socialising was always great due to the proximity to London. I lived in London and commuted out which worked perfectly.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife in Epsom is not the best, however you are incredibly close to London which has brilliant nightlife! We often went out in Clapham which has great connections and a really fun scene. There are lots of pubs and bars within Epsom and into London which are good as well.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Definitely! I played cricket for the Toyota Cricket Club which was brilliant! We played businesses across the County and also had training sessions. I also got involved with the Sports and Social Club, and played in rounder's tournaments, attended summer BBQs and lots of other social gatherings.