1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
As a whole I really enjoyed it, I couldn't of dreamt of better start to my working career. The building itself created a fantastic working environment,
everyone is really friendly and approachable which is great when you're a student on placement.
The only major negative was moving to the area, Epsom is a horrendously expensive place to move too and live. Myself and a number of other students were treated very poorly by a number of different local estate agents, which unfortunately did negatively impact my work/home life this year.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
All the work I did was either appreciated and thanked at the same level as everyone else, or if I wasn't doing something entirely correctly I always had guidance on what I needed to do and time to correct it. The role often felt like a regular member of staff, rather than a placement student role.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
A lot of my work was project based, this meant that I didn't always report into my direct line managers for all the work I did. However, if I was struggling with anything I always had some support on how to move it forward. I also had Bi-Weekly 1-2-1's and weekly team stand-ups where we discussed everything I was working on.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
A lot of my workload was project based so it always fluctuated, there was rarely a situation where I had nothing to do. I was never overloaded with work either, If I had a lot of jobs on my plate there was often the conversation with my manager of what to prioritise.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given more responsibility and freedom as the year went on. I started the year with small jobs that were primarily internal to the team and department which helped me build my confidence, I finished the year working with other European Toyota Affiliates and coordinating Pan-European Projects at Toyota GB.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
As a part of the the placement year each student has to complete a PDCA style of project, this ideology of approaching problems is fantastic and a truly invaluable skill that I'm sure I will use in my final year and throughout my life. There was also plenty of optional training like 'Presentation Skills' that students could opt into taking.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office was a fantastic place to work, there was plenty of space, loads of meeting rooms and informal places of work if you wanted a change of atmosphere from your desk. Everyone is really friendly and approachable which goes a long way when you're a student with little knowledge of anything.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement scheme had 20+ students in almost every department within the company, so a lot of the structure of the year was left down to the departments themselves. There was some structure from HR in the first 10 weeks for training and making sure we've settled in and some structure towards the end of the year with appraisals and the PDCA Style Project Presentation. I do feel there is a need for more input from HR for a uniform structure that each department could adopt.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
A lot of basic training, this really helped with the getting up to speed. There was a lot of additional training students were prompted opt into like 'Project Management' and 'Presentation Skills'.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Toyota GB is a fantastic place to work and is a company I will definitely look to work for in the future. Unfortunately the Grad-scheme is purely oriented around Business Management and Marketing Students, but as a Computer Science Student there is little in the way of a scheme to get into the company.
Additionally, the location of the office is a serious negative for me as it's in an extremely expensive part of Surrey that would make moving to the area unnecessarily financially strenuous.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Everybody lunched together and got on in and outside of work, this made moving to the area a lot easier as a lot of other students were in the same boat. The Sports & Social Club was popular among the students as it often offered subsidised events with very liberal bar tabs.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Finding a house was extremely difficult, a lot of houses in the area are not furnished so living with other students working at Toyota GB was problematic. There are a lot of professional house shares but after living in 2 over the course of the year it's a real gamble as to who's living in them. For a basic house share central to Epsom I was paying £695 per month.
The only redeeming feature is that it's got great travel links into London.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Dire and Expensive.
But London is right on your doorstep.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The Sports & Social Club ran many different activities outside of work. They ran sports teams such as Football and Cricket that went on tour and competed in local leagues, they also ran casual sports events such as Rounders Tournaments. They also had discounted event tickets and social nights in places like Box Park.
They gave you the option to take 2 volunteer days in the year, these are fully paid days where you can go volunteer for a local cause.