1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Overall, I enjoyed the experience. The people I worked were in general very friendly and sociable, although at time I did feel a little isolated and no especially welcome, particularly by a few more senior members of the team, one of which was responsible for making a recommendation on my behalf. I learnt a lot of useful information and it has helped my to make better decision in my career path.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
A lot of the work I did was not that important, with a lot of admin-based more stereotypical 'intern work'. There was often times when people would be unprepared to teach me something knowing they could do it themselves faster. My contributions did not go unnoticed, and there was definitely some members of the team who I felt engaged more actively in my development than others. Because of my limited technical knowledge and ability, this meant I struggled to find meaningful work from many of my colleagues, often feeling like the work I was doing was just to keep me occupied rather than for my own personal growth.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
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4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
In general, the workload varied, from quite low initially to being a little swamped in the middle. On a typical day I would have enough to be getting on with, but didnt feel pressure to take up more, and also didn't feel like I had the capacity to ask for more.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Similarly to as mentioned earlier, much of the work I did was not that meaningful, more admin or formatting work, work that people just weren't that keen to do themselves. There were only a few times I was left with a set amount of work to manage myself, and I was often told to be more communicative about my progress, implying I wasn't trusted to be responsible enough to self-manage
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
In terms of technical skills, my development was limited by the type of work I was given. The training was useful as I have learnt more detail about the concepts and ideas involved in a role in actuarial professions. In terms of my degree it is unlikely to be that important or relevant, but the main thing that will help me going forward is the experience and feedback or a working lifestyle, improving my communication and being more open about my career needs.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
In the office as a whole, the environment was very welcoming, and there was a friendly vibe around everyone working here. In my particular team, this wasn't as evident, and although I still felt comfortable and confident, I didn't feel as though I could speak openly to any member of my team.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
It was well organised, but not particularly well structured. The differences between teams were blurred from the outside but very strict internally and that wasn't clear until I was in the office. The updates on what was going on were always useful and prompt, but within my team, the setup for how to ensure we got the most out of the experience was lacking, with a lot of pressure placed on interns to find suitable work with not very much as a starting point.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company invested well in me, with a comprehensive induction residential and a clear defined office induction and pensions lecture series. This was a good experience, and it set the tone very high for the recruitment services, although there were certainly things about the residential that could have been made more explicit
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
It seems that there is a good level of career progression within the firm, with lots of opportunities for all members and a chance to showcase your talents in several areas. However, pensions specific, with the transfer from DB to DC it seems that a lot of the work will eventually wind up, and the industry is actually on the decline.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes, although this was very much self-organised amongst ourselves. We met and formed contacts at the residential induction but a lot fo the key social and networking that occurred was at the office with lunches and weekly drinks but was very much of our own accord, and in no way to do with the company itself.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Very expensive, its London, part of the experience for me was whether I could tolerate this high life, expensive fast paced lifestyle. I managed to find free accomodation with a friend, but if I hadn't then my wage would barely have covered my cost of living for the 6 weeks, and I would have partially used savings from other jobs, or remaining loan
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Never really went clubbing, but there are lots of nice bars and pubs nearby. Again, its pretty expensive so its not something thats as easy to do regularly like in many other locations in the UK. It's also not particularly safe and the sheer size of the city means travelling home is difficult or expensive
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Not really. I know that the company has lots of activity and sports groups and cross team social events but as a short term intern, it was never really opened up to me, which I think is quite a shame as i might have enjoyed the experience more if I had found out how enjoyable these groups were.