Although at the beginning of my placement I found it quite hard to settle into my role and find my feet, I enjoyed it a lot more as my year went on. There is a lot to learn in order to be competent and this was overwhelming at first, but once I had grasped the basics everything else became a lot easier.
At the beginning of my placement I felt a little bit left alone and not particularly valued by some of my colleagues, particularly during my time learning my role. As the year progressed and I moved onto nights and had the opportunity to build relationships with new colleagues I felt a lot more valued and that my contribution was genuinely making a difference to both the business and the operation.
All the managers at Gist who I have encountered have been friendly and welcoming to me as an Industrial Placement Student. They all were happy to offer their guidance and support to me, although at times this may have not been at the appropriate moment. If I had any questions or did not understand anything, I had no worries about picking up the phone or going to see my manager and asking them.
On my placement this varied massively from day to day. Some nights I would not stop rushing around and organising things, whilst on some days it did drag sometimes. As my year went on, I found ways to keep busy when there wasn't much to do with my role, and your time with no work on is what you make of it.
Gist made sure I had plenty of responsibility from the beginning of my placement, but this was controlled and managed in a way which meant there was always someone I could ask if needed. By the end of my placement I could be responsible for up to 25 full time employees as well as agency staff on a nightly basis. I was treated like any other Team Manager at Gist, and this made me feel like a valued member of the team.
Although quite a lot of the skills I picked up are very role specific and not very transferable, all of the people management skills and training I received will assist me in my degree and beyond. I attended courses on Leadership as well as Health and Safety, which will stand me in good stead regardless of where I end up working. There is a lot of planning and trying to overcome obstacles in a fast paced environment, which will definitely help me with my final year at University.
There was always a lot of camaraderie and fun at Gist, and the fast paced environment, particularly on nights, made this an enjoyable place to work. Although at times things were difficult and stressful, I think overall Gist is a good place to work and the people who I worked with were what made my Placement.
There is an Early Talent Team who co-ordinate all the Graduate and Industrial Placement Students, and organise training and events for us. In terms of the site which I worked at, I would say that there wasn't a great deal of organisation and things were slightly more ad-hoc. At times this left me feeling a bit confused or left behind in meetings when I didn't know something about another area of the operation. That said, since I have joined and other Team Managers have started, the process has for inducting new members of staff has improved a lot, and I am confident that this is something which will be better for future Placement Students.
This is an area where Gist did invest a lot in Placement Students, treating them exactly the same as other Team Managers. During my time I undertook a 3 Day IOSH Health and Safety Course, as well as courses on Accident Investigation, Communicating for Results, Leading in an Involved Environment, and Compliance. These courses helped me see what impact I can have on others, as well as making me aware of the responsibilities I have in my role
Gist clearly holds Graduates in very high regard, and across all sites it is clear to see that there are definitely the opportunity to move up and develop within the organisation. If I were to return on the Graduate Scheme it would be shortened because I have undertaken my Placement here, meaning that I could move up faster than someone who is new to the business as a Graduate.
As all the Placement Students are based at different sites around the country, socialising did not happen much outside of the events organised by the Early Talent Team. That said, I did visit other Placement Students at their sites and see how they operated, which gave me a better understanding of the business and operation as a whole.
Bristol is not too expensive in terms of the cost of living, and there is something to suit every budget in terms of socialising. The depot was quite a distance out of the city, and I am glad that I chose to live nearer to the town centre, as it meant that there was more to do, particularly when the University Students were around.
Again, around the depot this was pretty much non-existent, but Bristol as a whole is really good for Nightlife, and there is pretty much something every night of the week to keep you entertained. As well as this, Bath is not too far away and I visited there and Cardiff on a number of occasions.
There were not really that many opportunities outside of the ones organised by the Early Talent Team. I did attend a Team Manager day with my colleagues, and there were a few nights out, but not these were few and far between. Aside from that there was not really many other opportunities.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
15th July 2019