I had a fantastic time working for Computacenter, I was given a real job with real responsibilities. I worked with over 30 of Computacenter's largest customers to drive great customer experience, this involved traveling to customer sites across the UK. I hosted customer innovation workshops to increase collaboration and creativity. Also, I was engaged in the future talent network 'FreshMinds' to develop my leadership by seeking funding from senior leaders to host my own soft skill workshops internally and with Computacenter's partners. The Freshminds platform created an opportunity to host a stand in Berlin which was a brilliant experience.
The Computacenter culture is what stands out the most to me. There is a huge emphasis on the importance of people across the entire organisation, everyone is valued equally. This was clear to me when I was invited to work alongside senior management on two projects throughout the year, they didn't treat me like an 'intern', I was treated like a senior member myself, even though I was only in the job for a few months!
My manager and the surrounding team were superb, they fully understood my workload and scheduled monthly catch-ups to make sure I was on track to meet objectives, set personal goals and understand other areas of the business. Outside of my direct team, there was a brilliant Future Talent team who were there to support you throughout the year if you have any struggles with work or your personal life.
For me personally, there was a perfect balance. I was informed that I would have approx 70% of my time dedicated to my job role which left me with 30% of my time to explore other areas of the business and engage with university work. I really enjoyed this but it depends on the proactivity of the individual. You get out what you put in!
I was given a lot of responsibility but this is dependant on how confident you feel taking up tasks. In the first few months, don't expect to be running the show, there is a lot to learn so don't try to run before you can walk. I was not micromanaged in the slightest which gave me an opportunity to engage in a variety of tasks such as facilitating customer workshops, building partner relationships, strategic customer mapping, and driving process efficiencies.
The skills I gained were invaluable to my personal development. One massive thing for me was time management, I became more and more productive with as the months went on. I also developed massively in presenting as I was on a scheme that carried quarterly presentations at director level. Other skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication have been improved. I attended training courses on presenting with impact, excel, and productivity.
This is the only area for improvement for me. The head office in Hatfield has a fairly good atmosphere but as my team was made up of consultants, we all traveled around a lot which meant that my team were never in the same place at the same time. The offices are very corporate which doesn't exactly drive creativity as there are no chill-out spaces or social areas to have informal meetings etc. I was given the flexibility to work where I wanted which was nice so I often worked in London and at home.
There is an entire team dedicated to this work placement to ensure smooth running of the schemes. We had quarterly presentations, monthly manager meetings, and frequent Future Talent events. In the first month, I was eased into my job by the predecessor who built my business understanding and set me up with access to necessary systems.
Computacenter invests a lot of time and effort into every placement student. There a training portal which displays all the training available, if there is a personal and business benefit for you to attend the course you are more than entitled to go. My manager used his network to set me up with meetings with other areas of the business to build my understanding.
Working from home
I believe Computacenter could be much better at retaining placement students. Currently, there is no clear bridge between a successful placement student and a job offer which is a big shame. In my role specifically, I was told in my first month that there was no possibility of returning to my business area. For me, it is all about building and leveraging your network after you graduate.
This is dependant on the people that are in the scheme, during my cohort we got together every month or so. If you are based in London, the social aspect is much better, that's one reason why I tried to avoid the Hatfield office as it feels quite isolated. Compared to my friends on placement, it seemed like I had the best social life at work!
As I lived in London, it was very expensive. But this was my personal choice, I could have based myself in Hatfield which would be much better financially but I wanted to feel the buzz of London which I really enjoyed. A placement year is all about experiences so go for an exciting location!
London nightlife is one of the best aspects of the city, there are always after-work drinks which are often funded so you don't end up spending a penny. There are lots of pubs and bars in the Blackfriars area so you can always find somewhere new to go to. Great nights out with great people.
This is one aspect that Computacenter is lacking, outside of work activities are quite limited. I was not made aware of any social sports teams or activities going on apart from the occasional charity football match. FreshMinds did organise a football tournament one evening. There are lots of trips to the pub after work...
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Business Analytics, Business Management, Customer Service, Information Technology
Central London and City