1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my placement as I was given lots of opportunities to see all areas of the business and go on international trips just like any full-time employee. This has given me a holistic view of a tour operator business and a lot of experience to take back to university and inform my future career choices!
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The placements at TUI are given as much responsibility as any full-time colleague so we always had a lot to do and received the same recognition as anyone else. I was able to get involved in business improvement projects which will have a lasting impact on the company after I am gone and this made me feel like a really valuable part of the team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Some of my managers have always been very supportive, I have come to them with questions and concerns and they always offer advice or make changes in the team to help the situation. It is clear the management care about the team and pay attention to everyone's well-being. There will never be a business where everyone gets along but there is always support at TUI when you need it.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The business in my team really varied depending on what was going on. Sometimes there was a lot to do and I had to prioritise and leave some jobs for a long time before getting round to them, and also ask my team to pick up some tasks. Other times it was far quieter and I had to come up with my own projects to work on to fill the time, but this allowed me to be creative to improve business processes.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given the same amount of work to do in my team as any new starter and had the same objectives and targets to reach. The best thing about the placement scheme is that we were also given larger business projects to work on and one of these was sponsored by the Commercial Director. This was a lot of pressure but really helped my exposure within the business and made me feel valued.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I learned a lot about the travel industry which will be really helpful when learning strategy, finance and writing my dissertation. I also made a lot of valuable contacts around the business who I hope to get back in touch with to help with my dissertation and perhaps even when I am applying for future jobs.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
There were some tensions between management and lower level staff as often issues were solved in ways that did not feel compassionate to situations. The team all got along well though and many of us are friends outside the office, but the atmosphere could sometimes be very quiet and earphones are not allowed which led to restlessness.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The scheme was reasonably well organised but there were definitely times when more communication would have helped. I felt as though we didn't get to know the scheme leaders anywhere near as well as our own immediate teams and this led to a lack of engagement with placement socials and the team felt a little disjointed.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We were given a lot of training in order to do our roles as well as for personal development, for example presentation skills. Placements are also allowed to spend four half days with other departments shadowing and learning what happens there to see whether it's something you might be interested in in the future.
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?
I wouldn't return to the department in which I spent my placement as it's not the job I want to do long-term but I would definitely return to the company. There are so many opportunities available at TUI and its global presence means there are jobs all over the world.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There isn't much to do in the area so if anything was happening it meant a lot of travelling and having to schedule around train times which limited opportunities. There are a lot of young people at TUI who want to socialise though, and placement socials are sometimes organised by the team.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living here can be low as we found a very cheap house very near to the office but this is rare and other placement houses cost much more. Socialising costs much more too because we generally went out in London and you also need to pay for trains, taxis etc as well as expensive drinks and food.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There is no nightlife in Luton so we needed to take the expensive train to nearby towns or London if we wanted to go out. There is a pub by the office but nobody would gather there in the evenings, only for drinks on Friday after work or before heading to London.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are a few clubs such as football, netball and walking. We also have subsidised gym membership so many colleagues all go to the same gym which can be nice. As many people are young we tend to get along well and organise our own things together outside of work.