Computacenter truly felt like home to me. Everyone that I have met and worked with were so warm and welcoming and I was never treated as a 'placement student'. I have definitely matured and developed this past year and it has been one of the most fulfilling and memorable years I have had.
I truly felt very valued by the people I have worked with. Computacenter has an internal rewards system that allows people to nominate people for doing a good job. These come in the form of 'Thank You' cards, as well as £10 vouchers, and even prestigious awards that have to go through a panel of judges. During my time here, I have gotten countless of thank you's and even a silver Excellence in Action for going above and beyond. This really gave me the motivation to do my best in all of my work.
My team were very supportive, often saying that if I had any trouble I could always voice it out. They were also very understanding that I was new to the company, and would patiently explain and answer any of my questions. However, since my team is very small, we are all often very busy with our work. For fear of being a disturbance, I sometimes tend to swallow my questions that were not pressing.
I was kept very busy throughout my year here. However, you could always push back on unrealistic deadlines. Most of the time, you are able to negotiate on a certain time period you need to produce a piece of work. If the workload gets too overwhelming, I could always talk to my team about it and they would try to lessen the load. I also work on bid collaterals. This would always be top priority as they were time sensitive. I would receive calls asking if I could work on it asap and the turnaround would be very quick. This would stress me out but at the end of the day, the thought of playing a role in bids for the likes of Sanofi, Jaguar Landrover, Santander, the Royal Mail etc. it gives me satisfaction.
I was given so much responsibility, even from the earlier months. I had to prove my worth, but once I did, it was all uphill. I was trusted to head out and film senior people (eg. the CEO of Computacenter, Managing Director of UK and Ireland) sometimes on my own! I also had the opportunity to develop and work on several Diversity & Inclusion campaigns, which I was very passionate about as I truly felt like I was making a difference!
Having to juggle a few projects at the same time really helped with my time management, efficiency and ability to prioritise my tasks. I feel like this would really help me when I am in uni, where I will have to work on different assignments for different modules.
We would often take trips to the kitchen to make ourselves a cup of coffee or tea to stretch our legs. There is always good banter among the team and my deskmates. We would crack jokes and have a good laugh towards the end of the day.
The set-up of my kit and the process of downloading my design software took way longer than it should. However, I am only the second graphic design placement student, so it might have to do with inexperience and they will probably get better with time. During the induction week, there were introductions to all of the different areas of the business except for mine, which was Group Development. This lack of information made me very clueless on my first day on the job.
Computacenter really invests in their placement students even though there is no guarantee that they might come back to Computacenter. If I thought that my abilities in a certain design programme is lacking, I could convey this to my team leader. He would then book me onto a course in London. This would be all expenses paid as well!
There are no graduate roles for what I want to do, and I don't see it happening in the future. Even if there was, I would not be able to apply as you need to have the right to work in the UK, which I don't as an international student. I have expressed my interest in staying, with my team wanting me to come back, but the chances of that happening are very slim as Computacenter rarely sponsors a Tier 2 visa.
My team would have quarterly meetings in London, with colleagues from Germany and France joining us. There would be activities planned for after such as bowling, going to the Design Museum and even an escape room! This helped with getting to know the team better outside of work. It was difficult arranging social events with the entire placement cohort as some of us lived outside of Hatfield. But people living in Hatfield would often go to the local Spoons, have board game nights and sleepovers.
The cost of living was decent as there is a local Aldi and Asda, which helped me save money for lunch as I often cooked. There is the Forum at the University of Hertfordshire but other than that, Hatfield has nothing much. You would have to travel out of Hatfield for entertainment.
As mentioned above, there is only the Forum in Hatfield. But there are clubs in St Albans about 10 minutes away by car. Another alternative is taking a 20 minute train to London.
There are not too many opportunites, however FreshMinds would organise meetups after work at a pub in London. They have also organised a football tournament at my time there.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
25th September 2019