1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The placement provided me with a great insight into business and how a large industry leading company operates. Over the 12 months I was able to take part and lead several projects across the business which have helped me to develop many of the key skills needed to work at a company such as BMW.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I did not feel particularly valued by my direct team that I was working in. I feel this was as a result of the type of work they carry out and therefore my limited involvement in their topics meant that most of my work was better appreciated by those it was directly affecting throughout the business in other departments.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I regularly had 1 to 1 meetings with my line manager and another colleague as my workload was split fairly evenly between the two of them. I was always given support when it was needed and felt I could always ask for advice/coaching regarding my current work in this time. The support and guidance was not structured other than these meetings that I had arranged, but it was always there if it was asked for.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
As with any company the workload is not consistent and there are days that are much quieter than others. Some days would consist of asking around for work while others would need me staying in after hours. However, in general a working week I would have more than enough topics to keep me busy and interested in the work.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Over the course of my placement I was given a good amount of responsibility by my line manager and my team. I was responsible for parts of the day to day workings of the team and also tasked with leading specific projects to improve the operation of the plant. In both of these roles my opinions were valued and the responsibility allowed me to develop.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I expect the skills I have developed over the last 12 months to help me a great deal in my final year of study. The work ethic combined with soft skills such as time management, project planning and steering, teamwork and communication will all stand me in great stead for my Masters. However I have not been able to develop the technical skills I learnt in my degree any further during this year.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office I worked in was usually very quiet with a lack of team cohesion. This may largely be attributed to the relative youth of the team being only 8 months old but it was obvious when I worked in other offices that there was not a lot of fun to be had in my department.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I had relatively few issues with the organisation of my placement year however from talking to other students at the company it is apparent that this was not the norm and the organisation of the internship across the company for students needs a lot of work. This issue is currently being addressed and will hopefully improve for future intakes.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
During my year at BMW I was not offered any personal training or development courses or opportunities to learn further to my core job role. This was one of the most disappointing aspects of the internship as it seemed there was no interest from the company to invest in developing interns past their job role.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There are no official channels through which an intern/student can apply for a job with the company, the only option is to apply to a graduate role advertised online the same as everyone else. However good work does not go unnoticed and if you have the right skills and work ethic jobs can be offered unofficially to students.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There are over 70 students at Plant Oxford and therefore there is a great social life. Being in a city gives you the benefit of all the student pubs, bars and clubs. Each Thursday there is a social event organised by the interns for the inters at a pub or bar in the city.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Being in Oxford the cost of living and socialising is very high, however not enough to stop you from having a good time. Renting in Oxford is very costly so house sharing with other interns is almost a necessity. This high cost of living is not something BMW recognises as the intern salary is at the average for the UK
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Being a city with two universities Oxford has a great nightlife and therefore compared to other internships there is a great range of pubs, clubs and bars to choose from. A night out is usually fairly expensive but there is enough for anyone to be able to find something for them to enjoy.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are a couple of intern-organised events that take place like the Thursday intern social and weekly football that takes place. We have also organised events throughout the year such as a Christmas bar crawl, paintballing and go-karting. My team have also had several trips to the pub and meals out in oxford.