1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My placement was a great opportunity to experience working on big projects within a large pharmaceutical company. I've developed knowledge of the pharma industry as well as the steps involved in large scale projects and how to manage them. I was given a lot of responsibility and had regular support throughout to ensure I got the most value out of my placement.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Everyone in the office was friendly and happy to chat. As long as you make the effort to ask questions/get to know them it's very quick and easy to settle in. I was treated like any other employee as opposed to just an intern, and the people I worked on projects with genuinely valued my input and support.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager made a conscious effort to ensure I was supported, always offering help or directing me towards someone who could. I was sat close to my manager which meant I could chat to him and also felt comfortable approaching him if I needed any guidance. I also had another member of my team regularly checking in to ensure I had enough work to prevent me getting bored.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was thrown straight into some big projects which was great as I found myself busy almost immediately. The work can sometimes be slow-paced, particularly on larger projects which rely on several other people/companies. This meant sometimes I found myself waiting on others which left me with little to do, and although I had some smaller individual projects I could have benefitted being given some extra tasks.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given responsibility leading some large scale projects right from the beginning, which involved liaising with other companies. This was daunting but a great experience which really helped to develop my leadership skills. My manager was keen for me to take the lead on most of my tasks which I was grateful for; it ensured I felt valued and that I was making a genuine impact on the company.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The placement has given me valuable experience of how a large company operates, which will benefit me as I will know what to expect when entering a graduate role. The skills i've developed, particularly leadership, will be important after university and, along with the experience, will help me to stand out to employers.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Everyone in the office was friendly and I felt comfortable making conversation with my colleagues either in the office or over a coffee. Also, everyone was extremely helpful if I needed any guidance or help. The team had a Christmas meal and also organise meet ups outside of work for birthdays etc, which is a great chance to socialise in a more relaxed setting.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
My projects were always well tracked through weekly meetings which were used to provide updates on the projects and decide on the next steps. Although some projects took longer than anticipated, people made a conscious effort to ensure we remained on track as best as possible. I was also given opportunities to work in areas outside my role which gave me a more rounded experience of the company overall.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was given training on using certain softwares when required. My supervisors also made an effort to expose me to a variety of areas in the job to help me develop knowledge of the company as a whole.
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?
Although there aren't any specific graduate schemes or roles, a future role within the company would be exciting, challenging, and well paid. There also appears to be a lot of opportunity to move around (and up) within the company, such as through Career Progression Assignments which give you a chance to work in a completely different area of the company for a set time period.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
My colleagues had a Christmas meal/drinks as well as pub crawls for people's birthdays which was a great opportunity to socialise outside of work.
I also had a good relationship with the other interns. Despite working in different departments we would have some opportunities to work together, would sit together at lunch, and would occasionally met up outside of work.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived in Newcastle which has a very reasonable cost of living, and with the placement salary I found I had plenty of disposable income. Socialising is also very reasonable; drinking is cheap in most areas. Cramlington is likely to be similar in terms of costs although for socialising there isn't much to do there.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Cramlington itself doesn't have much of a nightlife at all, but it is only 15-20 minutes away from Newcastle which has arguably the best nightlife in the country. There are a variety of pubs, bars, clubs and other social activities available to enjoy. I lived in Newcastle during my placement and commuted to work (via car/bus), and highly recommend doing this as you then have the nightlife right on your doorstep.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
My team organised a few pub crawls and there was also a 5 a side team which anyone can participate in.