I enjoyed the exposure I received through the company at Plant Oxford (BMW Group) however I had to take a lot of initiative as I received next to no support from my superiors. My main task was to create agendas and write the minutes for a meeting every week. At first this was an interesting experience however it became tiresome as I realised there were minimal opportunities available from the projects running in these meetings. I would not say I enjoyed this placement but that is mainly due to the lack of attention given by my manager. Greater attention perhaps would have resulted in more challenging work and better exposure as well as a more fulfilling interaction with others in the workplace
I felt valued by many colleagues in the plant however this was mainly people who I chose to work with by seeking opportunities myself. It seemed like they were more grateful for my contribution and in turn I felt valued by them because of this. My immediate supervisor was too busy to pay much attention to my placement and as a result we barely interacted most weeks. Therefore I would have to say I did not feel particularly valued by my supervisor but there were many others in the plant who did show that they valued my contribution
I was not given any support ot guidance. Whenever I needed anything from my supervisor, I often spent the good part of a week trying to get their attention in order to any simple questions. In addition, when I was able to get some time with them, they often gave the impression that they had more pressing matters to attend. As a result, it became tiresome to try and take my manager's support and guidance especially when I felt like they did not want to give me any. I found that I was able to find others who were more willing to help me when required. Work that I had found for myself involved other employees who were more keen to explain things to me when I asked questions and they often invited me to their meetings so that I could listen in.
At the start of the placement, I was very bored. My tasks consisted of setting up an agenda, sending a few emails and then susbsequently writing the minutes. I did take many efforts to find additional work with little support from my superiors who appeared to busy to help. Unfortunately, it got to the point where I was spending more time trying to find work than actually doing any. Some opportunities did arise and my manager was responsible for this. However, once again the work was not exactly what I was expecting and it almost seemed like I was being palmed off to a different department as my manager did not want the responsibility. On the other hand, the exposure I gained from this work was unique and not many other interns may have got this.
Not at all. I was asked to create powerpoint slides which were of little consequence or conduct certain risk assessments which did have an impact at times but it did not seem to have too much effect on processes as they seemed to be often ignored. I was given responsbility of presenting once in the meeting that I ran weekly. This was a fantastic experience as I spent a few days working with an intern from another department to create a presentation which I presented to many general managers. However, after this, I was given no opportunity like this ever again despite being told that I presented well. This was thoroughly disappointing as I was very happy that I was able to contribute and I had found it very enjoyable but reaped no further rewards from this.
I developed communication skills throughout this year. I was introduced to many new people within a very short period of time and I found learning how to communicate with language used at the plant difficult at first. Adapting quickly was definitely a skill I developed. Learning how to create powerpoint slides and what information managers like to see, was an important skill I had never developed before. Despite it seeming very basic, I learnt a lot about presentation and relaying information to management as well as the conversations that happen in higher management meetings.
The atmosphere generally was very good. It is very easy to go and speak to anyone and people are very friendly and generally very approachable. There is a very relaxed atmosphere in the office and people often sat in communal areas to discuss business over a cup of coffee or a snack. The layout of the office was also very open and well lit and I found it a comfortable and pleasant area to work in.
Unfortunately, there was next to no organisation for my placement. The only task that was set was setting up a meeting every week. Some tasks popped up randomly throughout the year which I was very fortunate to be involved in however, on another placement, the student may not be so lucky. At times, I found myself being asked to do tasks that an intern should not have to do such as make posters for social visits within the company.
Above 25 days holiday
There are practically no future employment prospects within the organisation for an intern. They seem to favour the apprentices coming through instead. Even if you were to do a very good job within the company, they do not seem to have a policy of offering a grad role after you graduate. I also found out that an intern had re-applied for a grad role at the plant and after reaching the final stage was not able to secure a place. As a result you receive no advantage from interning at the plant if you decide you would like to work there later on.
One huge positive of the placement was the social life between the other placement students. There is a real sense of community with various activies planned each week by interns. Some examples include football once a week, pub crawls and other socials. Depending on availability there are many activites that people get involved in as well as interns coffee every morning at the plant which is great way to make friends as well as learn about the roles of other students in the plant.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
14th July 2020