1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed my year at Nissan in general, especially the people I worked with. The work that I completed was also enjoyable and challenging, however at times repetitive and limited. However, I gained a lot of skills and experience from what I did that will definitely help me in my career.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
From the start of my placement, I was made to feel extremely welcome and never excluded. My mentor took me to meetings and showed me work that gave me lots of exposure beyond my role which gave me a great insight. I was also a key part of the team and was used to help various team members.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My mentor played a very involved role when I first started and he wanted me to tailor my placement to what I wanted. I was also given lots of advice by my manager for projects and presentations. An improvement could be having a more structured support programme and formal feedback process.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
This would vary across the year depending on the business needs. At first it was very quiet and often boring but as I completed my training and became more confident in my role I had more tasks to keep me busy. Towards the end of my placement I was asked to input on various projects.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given autonomy over my tasks from day one and was told to make improvements where I see fit. However, I still had my mentor and colleagues to lean on if required. In the second six months of my placement, my mentor was taken ill so I had a lot more responsibility from that point, essentially running my department.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I can already see how these skills will help in my career. The basic workplace and computer skills are essential but the analytical and interpersonal skills take the experience to the next level, it is not comparable to not doing a placement. In terms of university, I am not sure I will use the specific skills but I will use my experiences and insight into the business and working world.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Very friendly and chatty but hard working. I made many lifelong friends but could also have conversations with anyone there on a personal and professional level. This makes you feel comfortable at work and helps if any work related issues occur and you need to work with someone in another team or department.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
There were good aspects, such as being given opportunities to hear from the other managers what their department did and also to present to various levels of management including the senior managers. However, other than that we did not get to interact or work with the other placements on a professional level. There was also no formal development structure which meant each placement's experience was largely down to their manager or mentor.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Other than being trained on my role, I did not get any other opportunity to further my development officially. There were a couple of company wide workshops that were interesting but more informational than developmental. There were training courses available, such as assertiveness but I did not know placements were eligible. We did have opportunities to work on presentation skills but other than that it was just doing our job.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I was told I could apply through the usual channels as they do not make job offers. I am sure my time there would increase my chances of succeeding and my appraisal score was sufficient to be interviewed. I do not think they take on many graduates each year. I would be happy working there but I am seeking a career in a different industry.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
We had a placement awards event towards the end of our year that was good, however, I did not recognise half the people because they were a later intake and we were never introduced. There were no other activities but I know there were various nights between the placements but I did not attend as I lived an hour away.
I went on various social outings with my team throughout the year, nights out, days out, meals after work. This was really fun and helped me become more part of the team.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
My office was near Sunderland but out on it's own site so not really relevant to cost of living. I lived at home but a lot of the placements lived in Newcastle which is pretty cheap for everything really. We were always able to go on team nights out well within a placement's budget. I spent a lot on fuel but that's because I commuted 300 miles a week.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I haven't been out in Sunderland but Newcastle is very cheap and lots of variety. We were able to go to various bars each time. The atmosphere is always really good and generally an enjoyable time.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
In terms of social gatherings, with our team, there were plenty and varied. One of the placements did a CSR activity but such an opportunity wasn't made available for me. I think a group CSR activity for all placements would be great for our CV and help our development outside of work.