1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my year on placement at Volkswagen Group UK, the team I worked with most closely were extremely welcoming, easy to get along with and helped me to progress throughout the year. VW group as a whole is very supportive and provides a good amount of opportunities to further develop your skills and career.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt extremely valued by my colleagues, my team were particularly good at giving praise and really motivated me to work hard. Within our team I felt a good amount of collaboration and everyone worked together well to make sure we all felt valued and produced the best work we could.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Plenty of support was given throughout my year and I always felt comfortable speaking with my management about any issues I might be facing. Organisation was sometimes an issue and I felt as though I didn’t always have very clear objectives that we were working towards as a whole and how our projects and tasks fed into that.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Some days could be very very busy and involved working over time to get things done but I recognised this was a normal thing within VW group. I often found myself working through my lunch break to get tasks done but as I enjoyed the role so much I didn’t find this to be too bad and was happy to do so.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a great amount of responsibility within my first couple of months at VW and was leading multiple large scale projects with the help of our agencies on my own. This was all a great learning experience and something that I value greatly as a chance to build my confidence and knowledge.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills I developed while at VW will certainly be skills for life. Having such an intense role with so much to learn enabled me to pick up skills that can be transferred across many business areas and industries. The responsibility given and opportunities available are a great way to build up these important skills.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere within the department I worked in was definitely more fun and sociable. However across the VW group as a whole I did find the atmosphere to be somewhat cold and sometimes lacking in enthusiasm. It was quite frequently that I would hear negative conversations surrounding work and that could be a bit off putting sometimes.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Definitely well organised in terms of getting the information we needed prior to our first day and our handover from the previous undergraduate. From there organisation was handed over to the responsibility of our teams and I found it fairly seamless with a few areas that could be improved such as timings of our undergraduate projects.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We received a fair amount of training across the year at VW, particularly at the start for basics such as Outlook and other skills we would need on a daily basis. I was able to participate in further workshops as part of my role however I understand that this was not available for all undergraduates across VW and was quite dependent on your role.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I personally was not interested in applying for the graduate scheme as this is a rotational role that gives you opportunities across many departments within automotive and so was not suitable for someone looking to specialise in a particular department like myself. I would also be sceptical coming back to VW based on the culture and work atmosphere as I don’t believe it’s the right fit for me, certainly at the early stages of my career.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
This was definitely something that I found difficult while on placement, there was very little outside of work socialising and people were quite closed off to the idea whenever anything was tried to be organised. There was no ‘Friday feeling’ or anything like that within the office and this could be quite demotivating at times.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Definitely more expensive than where I came from but this is likely to be due to be further down south and often visiting London for any social events. Overall the area I worked in was difficult to get around for socialising and lacked any culture or interesting places to socialise.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife was very poor compared with student areas / cities and so this was something I disliked while on placement. The area is good for nice pubs but not much else. If you go further out into the countrysides there are some nice walks etc but as I said not usual student vibes!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were a couple of VW sports teams (football and netball) but if you didn’t play those two then not much else. We did do some fun charity activities which were a good way to get involved but I often found these were during work hours and so if you had a very busy role like myself I wasn’t able to get involved as much.