Lloyds Scholar Intern in Insurance and Wealth, Scottish Widows.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed my placement very much in terms of the work I was given. I was always busy, and I learned lots of new skills about organising myself and others over long projects. There were times when I felt overwhelmed, but the office was very friendly and I always felt I could speak up and get help.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt valued to an extent, but most of the time it was hit-and-miss. With some people, I could talk about my work in a friendly way and get some great advice. With others, I felt more judged and less helped, especially in relation to my ADHD and Mood Disorder. At times, I felt like I was being punished for being open so in the end I was resorting to saying 'Oh I have a headache' instead of talking about my mental health, in order to avoid being patronised. I felt incompetent at times but I didn't feel reassured that this wasn't the case, or helped to meet future deadlines, and on a few occasions I felt excluded, especially when I was strongly encouraged to end my internship early by my Line Manager against my own will.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was given so much support whenever I asked for it, and I made it clear I wanted to be checked up on, which was often done - I didn't want to be sat doing nothing ever so I was helped to arrange shadowing when my two projects were coming to a close. I had bi-weekly meetings with my Line Manager to check up on what and how I was doing.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was busy every day and never had nothing to do. I was asked by my Line Manager before the internship started what I wanted out of the 10 weeks. I said I would love to do some bigger projects and she made sure I got two, as well as other smaller pieces of work. At times, however, this did feel a little overwhelming and I would fall behind on deadlines.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was encouraged to be self-directed throughout my internship. Sometimes I wanted more direction as I felt under-confident, but when I started working with another intern on a project I had a chance to share the responsibility. I was not given any projects that, if left undone, would leave a negative impact on customers, but that was good for me as more pressure would have been stressful.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My communication skills have improved greatly since starting the internship, and I have learned how to organise myself better, which will help me in Uni, especially in coordinating events. I have practiced my business reporting skills including switching between registers, which has helped me develop a more professional voice in my writing. As a literature student this is invaluable.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in the office was very much dependent on the team I was in. In some areas I could feel quite isolated, but other areas were warm and welcoming, and more importantly non-judgemental. Everyone was always busy and working hard, but there was also always a chance to ask someone how they were.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Some aspects for me were brilliant - my emails, laptop, company phone and more were all perfectly ready when I arrived. I was secure in which area I would be in, but I wasn't too sure what I was going to do. I was 'offered' to go home early and told "there is no more work for you to do" which felt really strange and disorganised as I still had two projects on-going.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I didn't get any training, it was more on-the-go for my learning. In terms of development, I was told in my final two weeks to look up courses on body language and emotional intelligence. This didn't feel accommodating to my ADHD needs but more of an attempt to 'fix' me.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I could go for another placement as a Lloyds Scholar, and then apply for the Graduate scheme, which would mean I would receive future employment.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I had a brilliant time with the other interns during the Edinburgh Festival. I made great friends and we would often eat out, cook for each other and have fun in the flat, as well as head out into the city to explore. It was just like uni halls, but without the pressure of essays.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living wasn't very high as our accommodation was paid for by LBG. There was a Lidl less than 10 minutes' walk away, which meant anyone on a budget could eat just fine. The bus pass was a great price and made it easy to travel at £120 or so for two months (around £2 a day). Before the Fringe started we were still exploring the fab city that is Edinburgh. During the Fringe there was so much on that was free, we never had a day where there wasn't something to do.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I didn't go out to any clubs, but I did stay out during the Fringe past 12am and there was a lot going on, which so many creative cocktail bars and live music late into the night. I can't imagine anyone would get bored from the Edinburgh nightlife at all.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were lots of opportunities, but taking them was difficult as after work so many of us were too tired to invest our time. I did do some music performances but I didn't manage to do any volunteering alongside the work. If this is to do with activities with LBG outside of work, I remember there being a Scottish Widows archive tour on offer but I didn't fancy it.