Responsible for the day to day operations of two business eBay stores, working with the general public, problem solving and positively implementing growth initiatives.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Toyota and I feel that is mainly credit to my team and wider department for making me feel so welcome and encouraging me to constantly ask questions to gain a better understanding.
I enjoyed my role in that I was given a lot of autonomy to make changes and saw many positive improvements throughout the year. Also, the social side within the company and the student cohort was great. I have made lifelong friends this year.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
From my direct team, all the way up to my division, everyone was very welcoming and always on hand to help. Although everyone knows you are a student, no one treats you like one.
In my team, we bonded very well and I am grateful for their welcoming attitude and they definitely took myself, and the other student in my team, under their wings.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager was always on hand to help and their unwavering support throughout the year was wonderful. They constantly encouraged me to challenge myself and I am
very grateful for this.
Any member of my department or division was always on hand to help if needed. This expands to the whole company, everyone is willing to give their time to help you with an issue or they'll happily direct you to the person who can if they cannot. Toyota is a very supportive place to work.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
This was dependent on the time of year as naturally there were ebbs and flows throughout my placement.
However, personally, as my team consisted of myself and another permanent member of staff, a large workload was split between just two people. I mainly managed the day-to-day operations however, at times I did feel at full capacity.
Contrary to this, if I was ever feeling like this, I know my team was always on hand to provide support to reinstate my work-life balance.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As my team consisted of myself and another permanent member of staff, I was given a lot of responsibility and autonomy in my role to run day-to-day operations as well as facilitate long-term strategy initiatives.
My fast learning skills and initiative helped with this yet, I was able to develop my ability to work under pressure as when my colleague was on holiday, the retention channel was solely my responsibility. We worked as a 50:50 team.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I have grown as a person while on placement and I now have a much better understanding not just of the automotive industry but also of the working world.
Having previously worked in customer service roles I could bring these to my placement role and they have strengthened yet, over the past year, I have also developed new ones which I can take onto future job roles.
Personally, my analytical skills will prove invaluable for my final year of study.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
I found this mainly depended on the department you were in however, for mine I would say: work hard, play hard; sums us up.
There is always something going on around the office and the grounds itself are lovely: complete with our own herb garden, outdoor meeting rooms and bee hives.
From a working perspective, everyone is very helpful and willing to answer your questions.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The recruitment process was quick and positive. When I applied the process was: application; psychometric testing; assessment centre.
Once all the placement students had been selected, we were invited to a pre-induction day where we could meet each other, gain an understanding of the company and have lunch with our team.
During placement, we had check-in sessions with our HR representative and were involved in recruiting the next cohort.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There were many different training programmes and courses we were able to complete during our placement.
I, personally, took advantage of these where possible and completed: Advanced Excel Training; Presentation Skills Training; extra IT Training and Innovation/Breakthrough Thinking Training.
All of these helped me to look at problems differently and challenge how things are done to look for better solutions.
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?
I am returning to the company over the summer in a temporary position.
Also, dependent on your performance throughout the year, you can put yourself forward to be invited to the assessment centre of the Graduate Scheme - this is a great opportunity to see the company from different perspectives and gain a greater understanding of the automotive industry.
Alternatively, I would still consider returning to the company in another capacity.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
As the student cohort is approximately 20-25 students there is always someone wanting to do something!
Mostly, there were barbecues and nights out in Epsom or Clapham among the students and as it is the year most students turn 21 - there were a lot of 21st birthdays!
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
As it is Epsom, it's a little on the pricier side however, I luckily lived nearby so I was able to live at home.
However, those that didn't spent at least £550 a month on rent.
The local pubs and bars are about £6 for a bottled cider but there is a Wetherspoons so don't panic!
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Epsom town centre has many pubs and bars as well as a few clubs but if you want something a little busier, Clapham is a great location especially for those living at home.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The company has a Sports and Social club which runs many different activities throughout the year including a Summer BBQ, Annual Quiz, Rounders and their own Christmas party!
Getting involved in Sports and Social is the best way to get involved and get to know people around the business you wouldn't usually speak to!