Initially I was apprehensive about commencing my placement year as I had to relocate and had no formal experience in HR. However, I had an amazing year where I received exceptional personal and professional support from my immediate team and the wider business. It is a place where there are so many development opportunities!
It sounds very cliche, but C&D is really like a family. My immediate team supported me so much with personal and professional matters and I feel very lucky to have taken away friendships from my placement year. Also, I worked very closely with members of other teams, especially Production, who were always so grateful and appreciative of my contribution in cross functional projects.
My manager was very supportive of my journey at the company. I felt that my growth and development was very much encouraged and when I was comfortable and my manager had observed progress with my confidence; I was able to taken on more senior responsibilities and lead my own initiatives and projects! I feel very lucky to have been able to have such a good relationship with my manager where there was open communication and he was always willing to help, encourage and guide me!
Work within the HR department changed on a daily basis and because of that it was always very exciting! I took advantage of the opportunities I had and so was busy at times but I found that I was able to create a good balance through my own time-management but also the support from my manager and team.
I was given a lot of responsibility during my placement year which I absolutely loved! I led training initiatives for other departments, worked on recruitment for a variety of roles within different departments and had involvement in Employee Relations. C&D is fantastic for providing opportunities to their employees. Being able to gain the level of exposure that I had and take leadership was very rewarding!
I developed both professionally and personally during my placement year and learned so much more than I expected to. Transferable skills I developed include time-management, initiative and communication. I also gained a lot more confidence in my ability! In terms of my degree (Politics & Sociology), although this is not directly related to HR, I found a lot of connections and it gave me the opportunity to observe and understand the practical implications of policy in an organisation- which is super useful! Additionally, I had different training opportunities that were very interesting and was able to request training that I thought would be helpful to my role. Some of the training included Recruitment & Interview Skills, Thinking Creatively, IT training & Investigations.
The atmosphere was so nice in the office I worked in and I looked forward to going to work everyday. The HR Department at C&D are so friendly and approachable and are aware of an important balance with work and fun! Everyone in the team was super friendly and made working very enjoyable.
When I started at C&D, I sat down with my manager and went over the general goals for different stages of the internship which covered 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months. This was a really useful guideline but it wasn't restrictive at all as when different opportunities came up I was able to get involved. I also had weekly one-on-ones with my manager where we could discuss the tasks I had etc.
The Company holds training and development as very important and they invest a lot in all of their employees. I was automatically enrolled onto certain training courses such as IT courses and Communication skills. However, I was also able to request other training that I thought would be useful to my role and my manager always encouraged this!
Although the company don't offer graduate schemes, they do encourage placement students to keep up to date with their website to look for any entry level opportunities once they have completed placement. It's also useful that the company have different offices and I know previous interns who have returned since they have graduated University!
There was quite a large group of interns across all the departments (around 18 interns in total). The majority of the interns were in the same position where they had relocated for the placement year. This made it a lot of fun as on weekends we could go out together and were able to form good friendships.
The cost of living was generally very affordable, especially in comparison to London. In terms of socialising, it was different from what some may be used to at Universities (living in a city), but there were still really nice things to do. We would go to the beach together, there was also a trampolining place not too far, laser tag and Canterbury was about a 30-40 minute train journey away!
The Nightlife was a little limited (at least in comparison to a city environment) but there were a few clubs and a lot of nice pubs and bars (especially on the pier!). Also, Canterbury and Ashford were short journeys on the train so we were able to have nights out in other towns as well!
The town was very quirky and cool so there were opportunities for people to get involved in activities that weren't company events if they wanted to. Some of the activities I participated in included yoga, trampolining, bowling, and the gym. I know other people also did laser tag and hot yoga!
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Human Resources, Recruitment