I found my placement really enjoyable. There is a great social aspect when working within GSK on placement and there are so many opportunities to stretch and network, outside of your department. There are also various roles that you can get involved in, in addition to your placement position. I found that there was a really positive push to 'get to know' the business. I personally found my role very rewarding and was really pleased to be given a large amount of responsibility.
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There is a really friendly and welcoming atmosphere in GSK. Within my department I always felt that my opinion and thoughts were of equal value to the rest of my teams. I found that my team often pushed for me to express and share my thoughts on topics as I provided a fresh lens. I also found that students did receive recognition when they performed well in a job or on a particular project they were working on.
I received support from my manager on a regular basis. This was not only through my professional work, but also personal support. During a period of personal difficulty I found my manger being incredibly supportive and showing a genuine concern for my wellbeing and allowing flexibility with working to support me in anyway. I also was very fortunate to have a manager who really encouraged me to explore other areas of interest and helped me network with these.
Throughout the year I was always fairly busy and always had enough work to fill the day. There were some periods of time where I was exceptionally busy and had to put the occasional extra hour or so in, in order to complete my work. However, I found this paid off in the end. During periods where I was exceptionally busy there was support around to help me manage this, and this helped me develop my time management
Throughout my placement I was given a lot more responsibility than I thought I would have. I was supporting in various areas and had the opportunity to run my own events, manage programmes independently, run training sessions independently. This really allowed me to grow and develop my professional skills very quickly. I found I often had more responsibility in my role than others, and with this came a heavier workload. I am very grateful that I was able to take on this responsibility during placement.
The skills I have developed at GSK I am sure will support me in my last year at university. Skills such as time management will be very valuable when I return to university and motivation to complete projects. Due to the large amount of workload I developed good time management and organisational skills during placement. I have also developed professional writing skills and thinking of how to approach difficult tasks and situations. These skills will carry through to university.
The atmosphere was fun and energetic. There was always a liveliness in the office, and there was never a day where there wasn't laughter. Everyone was very social and always interested in getting to know new faces. As a student we often found senior staff were interested in our passions, degrees and our roles as IP's. There was always an opportunity to speak to someone new, or when you needed a break to grab someone to go and get a coffee with.
The placement recruitment process was set up well and ran smoothly. We did not receive any events once we arrived, these were often set up independently within the placement cohort. A small team was set up within the student population to help organise events, but this was self funded. It was very much up to the individual on how much they invested into their placement and got involved in activities. You could get highly involved if you wanted.
This is down to the individual to discuss what they would like to invest and develop in with their manager. There was no central personal training or development organised, but managers would always be willing to support you with whatever you were looking to develop. I had the opportunity to visit other areas of the organisation, speak to various graduates, take part in personal development programmes and do online learnings to support with development items such as excel etc .
I would be interested in returning to GSK in the future through direct employment or onto a programme. As a placement student there is an opportunity to be fast tracked into an FLP programme (if you pass assessment process). I am unsure if I would move into the same area that I am currently in, despite really enjoying my role, I am keen to experience other aspects of GSK life. There is opportunities to speak with other grads in other areas, however the feedback has not always been positive.
There was a really good social scene whilst on placement. There are so many student on the sites that there is always an opportunity to make new friends and network socially. We often did social activities after work and at the weekends whilst on placement, and I have made some of my now best friends whilst on placement. Lots of students also choose to live close to site which allows for a really nice community.
As I lived in a expensive area in the UK, the cost of living was often very high, and I was on the cheaper options amongst other students. However, living in London gave me great socialising options and I got to explore so many new places. Despite the cost, I would want to live in London again after university purely due to the social aspect. There are student options near where I was living, but these are still expensive.
The nightlife was good in central London and Camden. However, you had to get on the tube and train to go on these nights out. It would usally take around 30 mins to get there. There was no night out options locally and so travel was always included on the night out which isn't always a bad thing. There are some nice pubs locally which we often went to and had some really enjoyable nights in the pubs.
I did not take part in activities outside of work due to current restrictions. GSK offer an opportunity to volunteer with a charity for a weekend which is really amazing, but due to COVID I was unable to attend. Some other students also joined local sports teams, such as rugby, netball or hockey. There was an opportunity to be part of this and employees in the company can support you with this and finding these opportunities.