1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Overall I have had a positive working at Toyota. I am grateful to have been exposed to so many new opportunities in terms of learning and development. In particular, I enjoyed my role as I was able to see active changes and improvements as a result of my work throughout the year.
There was also a great social aspect, the placement scheme included 20 other students. Working was never dull in such a dynamic business and the 12 months flew by.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
From the outset, I felt that everyone had a very welcoming attitude which I am extremely grateful for and it definitely helped me to develop and make the most of my 12 months at Toyota. Throughout my experience, I was never treated as a 'student' colleagues were invested, supportive and motivating. In particular, I felt that I bonded well with the direct team and there are many individuals who I thoroughly enjoyed working with and will miss.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager was always happy to offer support and guidance, this was really important in the first few months, particularly when I had no previous experience in a full-time job or in the automotive industry. This helpful attitude expanded across the department and the company as a whole, everyone was willing to take time to help you no matter how small the issue was. I experienced Toyotas culture as extremely supportive and would recommend it because of this.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Personally, my team consisted of myself and another permanent member of staff, which meant I found myself busy most of the time. I enjoyed being on the busy side and did not feel under too much pressure, but I can imagine this wouldn't be suitable for everyone. The workload meant that it was important to be organised in order to manage daily activities but my colleagues were supportive which reduced any pressure and essentially helped me to succeed.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As my team consisted of myself and another permanent member of staff my role gave me a great sense of autonomy and I really felt that my manager valued by input and trusted me with a lot of responsibility. This autonomy allowed me to run daily operations but also add input into long-term strategies. If you wanted greater responsibility in any aspect it was definitely offered on many occasions and the interest was appreciated by colleagues.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My role has not only given me great insight into the automotive industry but also the working world in general. Toyota offers a lot of training outside of your daily job role. For example, I took part in an Excel course, presentation training and more. Over the year I developed many transferable skills that I know will support my final year studies and I believe I have now built a solid foundation for future jobs.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office itself is a beautiful building in Surrey with a lot of wildlife on the rounds. There is a general buzz and always lots going on internally. I found my department to be very sociable creating a positive environment. The atmosphere was a reflection of Toyotas friendly culture. Overall I thought it was a great place to work. There are outdoor meeting rooms, a great canteen, beehives, new Toyota/Lexus cars on display and more.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Toyota have a graduate scheme but like most, it is quite competitive. As a placement student, you have the opportunity to show an interest in this scheme. Dependent on your performance throughout the year you will also get fast-tracked to the graduate schemes assessment centre. However, If you are unsuccessful there are some opportunities to return in a permanent role which I would be interested in as I have had a great experience at Toyota.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Toyota hires around 20-25 people on the placement scheme. Many of these people move to the area so are keen to socialise. Throughout my placement, there were nights out, barbecues, birthdays and more. If you join the sports and social club you will also have the opportunity to socialise with more colleagues outside of the student cohort. Essentially there are lots of new people to meet and a good social scene if you are interested.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Toyota GB placement is based in Epsom, Surrey, which is just outside of London. Surrey is quite expensive to rent but I lived at home. Those who didn't pay around £500-600 a month in rent. The area is great in that you can commute easily to central London in around 45 minutes or to somewhere like Clapham in 20 minutes. But it can be a quiet place as it's not a city so it depends on personal preference.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Epsom nightlife isn't particularly busy. There are a few nice pubs but I wouldn't recommend the clubbing. Having said that you can easily commute to somewhere more lively in around 20 minutes. For example, you can get the train to Clapham then a night tube back to Morden which is only a short uber ride back to Epsom. Overall I would say there is something for everyone close to Epsom but not necessarily on your doorstep.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?