Working in Retail supporting colleagues in my team
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Overall I did enjoy my placement at LBG. The team I was placed in were very welcoming and happy to answer any of my questions and I had a great relationship with my line manager. However there were definitely times where I felt like I didn't have enough work to do or that my tasks were a little simple, mostly due to the fact that as an intern you are always relying on other people to give you work or support you.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My team were great and very supportive. I was given lots of positive feedback by my immediate colleagues which helped me feel like I was on the right track. However, some people in the company definitely disregard interns and at some points I felt put down or ignored. So the majority of people made me feel valued but there were exceptions
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager offered me fantastic support. We had a check in most weeks where I could update him on what I was working on and he would make sure that my workload wasn't too high, and had I had any issues I would have felt very comfortable discussing them with him.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I had both busy periods and slow ones during the placement and enjoyed the busy ones the most as this was when I felt like I was actually contributing to the team. There were defiantly times though where I did not want to finish work too quickly incase I ran out and then would have nothing to do!
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I had a fair amount of responsibility in that I was able to complete my tasks in whatever way I thought was best and my team relied on me to complete them to a high standard. However, most of my role was just supporting other work that was going on in the team, so it was never really that crucial and sometimes after I completed something it wasn't taken any further so I was aware that the tasks I was doing were not that important.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I am definitely leaving the placement knowing so much more than when I started about how to work in an office environment and everything that comes with that such as responding to emails, participating to meetings and calls and just understanding how a big company like LGB runs. I didn't receive any training though beyond this apart from the mandatory training all new employees go through which was very lengthy and not applicable to anything I was doing. The tasks I completed are also very specific to my area and also probably won't apply to anything I do in the future.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
I worked in one of the quieter head offices where there are very few young people and a lot of empty desks. Everyone I worked with was very nice but there really wasn't much going on and my floor had not been refurbished for years and was quite dull. I think if you were in another office this would be different but I did not have a choice for where I was placed.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The organisation of the placement was probably the worst thing about it. I relied heavily on my manager to sort things out for me as the Talent team provided very little support (so I was lucky to have a good relationship with my manager as not everyone does). The Talent team were pretty poor at communicating with us or our managers so it felt like most of the time we did not know what was going on and neither did the managers, nearly all communications were delayed. For example my manager found it very difficult to set up a laptop for me so for the first week I couldn't work properly. They also changed the intern referral process halfway through our internship and kept us in the dark about it until our last week.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We did not have any personal training that I could take forward to other roles. However, there are a lot of development materials available to employees online that I was able to access and that we were encouraged to do (such as CV writing, being resilient at work). I was also able to use the internal pages to learn about the company values and culture. My manager also allowed me to access highly confidential information so that I could get the most out of the placement and have the fullest understanding of the company.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I am leaving the placement with the feeling that LGB is a company that is heading in the right direction as they have a positive company culture and want to do the best for their customers. Personally, I do not think the graduate scheme is for me as you get relocated every 8 months with no choice as to where in the country you end up, so if you got placed in a quiet office like I have you could find yourself being quite lonely as there are very few young people in some offices.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
For the internship we received free accommodation so we all lived with other interns which was really nice as it enabled me to make friends during my placement. We also had an induction at the start of the placement and went out for drinks afterwards. However apart from this there weren't any events for the young employees, especially where I was working there weren't many young people so it was not very social at all. It might be different in the London office though.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Interns receive free accommodation which is great, we did not have to worry about paying any rent. My main cost was transport though as I had to commute an hour each way to my office. There wasn't that much socialising as most of us commuted and got home quite late in the evening so during the week and were tired and had limited time. I lived in Yorkshire so things are reasonably priced.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I worked in Halifax which has absolutely no night life and really not much going on at all. I did live in Leeds though so there is a lot more to do there, however as I was commuting I didn't have any time to do stuff in the evenings during the week anyway.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There isn't really anything going on out of work, they don't run events for interns. We did do a charity challenge in teams of interns which I guess you could do stuff out of work for to raise money, but most teams don't end up doing that. Again, maybe this would depend on your office but I know there aren't any events out of work for interns.