1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I did enjoy my internship at Savills as I got some really invaluable experience and insight into the planning industry and working life in general. Unfortunately, I don't think that I want to pursue a career in planning as I didn't enjoy the work as much as I had expected.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The team was very friendly and particularly by the end of the month I felt really comfortable in the office, although it did take a bit of time to get to that point. They also made me feel valued by asking me to do useful tasks for them so that I felt that I was being helpful.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Initially there was limited support / guidance and I think a better induction into the role on the first day would have been really useful and helped me feel more comfortable straightaway. However, as I started doing more tasks I felt that the support and guidance greatly improved, I was always being asked if I had things to do / how I was getting on with my tasks etc.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Over the month I felt that I always had something to do, whether it be a big or small task, and it was always manageable. As I became more comfortable, I was challenged to do things that I hadn't taken on before, but my strengths were also noted and I was given similar tasks (with which I felt comfortable) to complete.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given the "perfect" amount of responsibility, as the majority of things I was asked to do did contribute to actual projects which my team had been working on. This made me feel useful! I was given a good amount of responsibility particularly on research, where I was more comfortable. I never felt completely out of my depth.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I gained a lot of skills during my internship. Most importantly, my knowledge of the planning industry has been entirely expanded which will greatly help to supplement my degree. I've also gained invaluable experience of working in an office environment which will definitely help me in later life when I start working in a similar environment.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office was generally quite quiet with a relaxed atmosphere, which I did enjoy but sometimes it could fall a bit flat as there wasn't always a lot going on. I think this is just the product of it being a fairly small regional office. In general, I am probably better suited to a bigger office with a more fast-paced environment.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
There was a bit of a disconnect between the HR office and the team I was working with. I received a couple of emails from HR with a long list of tasks to complete (including the summer scheme project, for example) which my team had no idea about. This meant that I lacked support from my team for some of the (albeit minor) admin that I was instructed to do by the HR office, only because they did not know that it had been asked of me (although they did try to help when I told them about it). As I mentioned earlier, a proper induction on the first day would also be useful just to make summer scheme students feel at home straightaway.
Overall, the internship itself was organised really well internally as I always had something to do.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was taught invaluable skills with regard to planning (which you wouldn't get from a textbook), and I was shown how to complete all of my tasks in the style of the firm (and more widely, the industry). I think the project was really good for personal development as it encouraged summer scheme students to talk to people in different departments, and also to prepare and organise a presentation in front of a handful of colleagues.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Following the summer scheme, it is possible to apply for a grad scheme which could potentially lead to a job. While this is really appealing as it provides a structured set of steps to future employment, as I am not wanting to pursue a career in planning I will not be able to reap the employment benefits of this scheme.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was a good social scene amongst fellow internship students as we managed to meet up quite often for lunch during the month, and sometimes outside of work. However, the social scene amongst colleagues was fairly poor, mainly a product of the office being outside of the city centre and there being limited places to go post-work without needing to travel. We had a team lunch once during the month, and one team drinks.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living and socialising in the area I worked in was relatively low (compared to London prices). Oxford city centre is the nearest place to socialise and has a lot of cheap options for food etc. I lived in Cowley, approx. 30/40 mins from where I worked, where the cost of living and socialising was quite low.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Oxford city centre has a number of different bars / pubs / clubs / restaurants which facilitates a good nightlife. It was easy to meet friends after work as I travelled through the city centre to get home. However, it was less easy for colleagues living further outside of Oxford centre.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I was invited to a Women in Planning event in Reading which was a really great opportunity and good to meet more women in the industry. I was also invited to watch a rowing event which some of my team were partaking in. I heard from another summer scheme student of various sports activities that were going on but did not end up going along to any.