I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Toyota. They treat you very well and arrange multiple socials and parties throughout the year. There is a large Toyota student cohort to socialise with outside of work too. When describing my job to family and friends the first thing I would say is it's a beautiful building to work in, the second is that they employ a 'Toyota personality' which is essentially just an all-round nice person, but it makes for an easy atmosphere.
Socially I felt comfortable and valued in my team. I got along with all my colleagues and could have good chats with them. However, professionally I felt less valued which naturally made sense because I was in an unusual position where my team was made up entirely of managers. This meant they worked at least twice as much as me and my own work was less important. Therefore, professionally I can't be valued as much as my other team members because I was far inferior to them and simply couldn't work to the level of the rest of my team.
I was lucky to have a very attentive and caring manager. At the start there was an incident surrounding my car and after working through that I felt my manager definitely supported my interests inside and outside of work. I got weekly 1-to-1's which not all students got and I was consistently pushed in the right direction even if I tried to resist because my manager wanted me to get the most out of my placement experience as possible. With other managers I don't think I would have been shown the same time and in hindsight it was very beneficial for my personal growth.
I worked part of the marketing communications department which is a campaign focused team. I only had a couple hours of routine work a week, everything else I was receiving from colleagues or finding work myself. My personal jobs were mainly admin based or small internal (non-commercial) projects. The work was generally very ad-hoc and I would go through periods of heavy work then not much at all. In periods of low work I was still kept busy because there was always something menial to complete, therefore it wasn't the perfect balance but I was never bored.
Working in the brand team we have the biggest budget in the company which means a lot of responsibility to spend the company money appropriately. My role tended to be assisting team members on big campaigns and other projects. I wasn't given a leading role on campaigns and huge amount of responsibility in my team but representative to other students I had a fair amount of responsibility like tracking the budget, the weekly competitor ad report and other smaller jobs which people relied on me for.
I believe 10 years of studying marketing at uni would not provide the same amount of knowledge of having 1 year working at Toyota. Toyota were good in providing us with external training days to boost our skills. Altogether we had around two full weeks of training courses which including project management, time organisation and presentation skills along with much more. This plus the experiences I've gained working in a marketing and professional environment will greatly benefit me. I believe I have a much greater understanding of marketing now to assist me in my final year.
The marketing communications culture is well balanced, it can be calm and relaxed and then really chatty (usually at the end of the day). There are four teams within MarComms each with their own traits. I would describe the brand team as funny but hard working. Most days they arrive early in the mornings and finish after hours. The atmosphere was generally easy going though and rarely boring unless everyone was in meetings (which happened frequently).
My experience of getting my placement and the duration of my placement was smooth. When I was accepted onto the assessment day the date changed a couple times but everything else seamless. We had an induction day before we started to meet our managers and other students to make us feel comfortable. When actually on the placement after a few weeks you become very independent and left to your own means to an extent however the support is still there if you need it (like when I crashed my car). There is also a year-long project that is organised by HR where all the students must improve the company in some way or another and present their findings at the end of the year. This is the only constant element that all the students participate in.
I already alluded to this, but a lot of training days were organised by Toyota ranging from simple Excel skills and email training to creative thinking and presentation skills (which I found the most helpful). These training sessions are done by external companies, so you get the best learning possible and you do these training days with all your students so as well as being beneficial they are fun.
Toyota tend to hire within the organisation and a lot of the senior staff have worked across multiple departments making them Toyota experts. This is a positive once you are part of the company because they look to promote from within. However, I guess the downside to this is there are a lot of people with more experience than you are going for the same promotion seen as inter-department promotions happen regularly. Other than that, it is a huge multinational company so hypothetically there isn't a glass ceiling and you can work worldwide.
There was a really good social scene. Over the months the 19 students naturally start to fracture into their own cliques, it is primarily split between those who have got their own place and those who live at home, however everyone still got along really well at lunch and work socials. When I went out most the time it was Clapham or someones house. It felt pretty much like uni because there are still so many of you in the same position just more expensive and less mid-week drinks.
The room I rented was in Epsom for £600 p/month bills included. For the area that is a fair price because it is an affluent area although as a student on a student’s salary it doesn't leave much left. The house was very nice because it was a professional house share not a student house however you can find cheaper places further out. My house was a 10-minute drive to work whereas some people commuted over an hour. When it comes to a night out, I would say £50 nights because of the expensive taxi home.
To put it generously Epsom nightlife was below average. You had two clubs to choose from - Fever and Boogie Lounge. The latter was the most tragic club I've seen and Fever felt very underage. You are better off venturing further out into London. We usually went Clapham and places like Infernos.
Toyota have a sports and social club which costs £5 a month to be a member. It is a thin disguise for what is really company drinks with an activity on the side. It is totally worth it to join because you get tickets to the Epsom races, summer BBQ or rounders etc. and for so much cheaper than if you weren't a member. All the students tend to go along so it's good fun. These socials are arranged every couple months. I'm sure there are other activities to join but I didn't feel the need to.