I loved how welcoming and friendly the office was from the get go. I really enjoyed having a 11 other placements to experience the year with, even though all our roles were different I think that's what made the dynamic of the group so interesting and fun! I learned so much more than I thought throughout the year, got a lot more experience than I expected and all my colleagues and managers were more than happy to help out with any questions I had. There is a real sense of community at TUI and everyone looks out for you.
I felt like a really valued member of the team as I was nervous to start in a completely new environment (industry), however my manager and team made me feel very welcome and ensured me that whatever role I took on would help enable the company and actually make a difference. I was always shown support and encouraged to "dive into the deep end" and fully submerge myself in each task I was assigned. My colleagues made sure I didn't feel like a temporary intern but one of the team, which encouraged me to work harder and accept more responsibilities.
My managers supported all my requests and made sure to catch up with me at least every two weeks to make sure I was enjoying my role and getting the most of the placement. My managers encouraged me to make suggestions in order to adjust the placement to my benefit - department changes and taking on more responsibility. All of the management were active in the placement scene, with plenty of meetings and face-to-face interactions made me feel like I was fully supported at every stage of the placement.
As this was the first year of this particular type of placement both the department and management were adjusting to fitting in a placement student into their day-to-day work. There were some days that were very busy and others that had a limited amount of work to do which could sometimes result in a feeling of unproductiveness however I used this time to catch up on miscellaneous tasks and extra research. The consistency of how busy I was could be improved however I understand that in the working industry not every day is going to be the same.
I was given more responsibility than I expected, each role I undertook I grew more confident in my ability to manage, co-ordinate and take on board constructive criticism. Each task I undertook had different responsibilities which allowed me to grow my skillset and adapt to various roles more easily than I did before. In some tasks I dived in head first and quickly learned the importance of knowing your responsibilities and to not be afraid to ask for assistance when necessary.
Completing a placement year was one of the best decisions I made during my university years. It not only improved my theory based knowledge and communication skills but it opened my eyes to the amount of job opportunities there are, even within one sector of the business. I think it was important to take a year in industry in order to find out how to transfer the skills learned at university to a real life working environment, as that is the ultimate goal after gaining a degree. The only criticism I have is that the placement did not last the entire 12-months so I missed out one one desired work experience however circumstances could not be helped!
The offices I worked in were fairly busy and productive but also friendly environments. The open plan settings of the offices allowed for an 'all ideas are welcome' setting which was ideal for a student placement as there were many new experiences and queries. The office were very inclusive and made sure that regular breaks were taken and made sure hard work was recognised. It was a hard working office with an encouraging and positive atmosphere.
The overall work placement was set up very well, I got to know all the placement leaders, management, my fellow placement colleagues and work managers well very quickly. The induction plans were well utilised and gave us more than enough information on each department at TUI. My work placement was undergoing its first year therefore plans were not as regimented as the overall placement set up which worked out as both an advantage and disadvantage. Advantage - I could suggest new ideas and request certain tasks to test its effectivity. Disadvantage - I would sometimes find myself a bit lost on what goals I should be achieving/where I should be at in terms of development. Overall the placement was set up very well, with lots of opportunities to explore other parts of the company and many chances to develop industrial skills.
My managers and team were very eager to help out in whatever way they could - in terms of my workload, future plans after university and even my personal well-being. My managers made sure to sign me up for relevant courses and also granted permission to attend any extra courses that the company provided. TUI gave me the opportunity to utilise an industrial mentor which really helped with making useful connections for future career prospects and made sure to tailor my interests with an appropriate mentor which I was thoroughly grateful for.
Employment prospects are promising as there are many sides to the company that are appealing to me. Each team I worked with had a variety of roles which allowed me to experience, second hand, multiple jobs that I had not previously even heard of. The managers I worked with were very on board with future opportunities within the company and were happy to discuss a potential job, dependant upon job vacancy, after graduating from university.
I highly encourage future placements to live alongside other placements if possible as it really helped with the social scene whilst working at TUI. Living with colleagues was fun and also beneficial as we were all in the same boat. The placement leadership team were eager to organise socials both in Luton and other places (i.e. London) which were always a great laugh and a good chance to mingle outside of work where the environment is more relaxed. We also had plenty of opportunities to socialise amongst ourselves as the placement group was a good size.
The living facilities were reasonable for the amount you were paying for with direct access to public transport and a very manageable distance from the office (by car or public transport). The town itself does not have as many places to socialise as it once did, however London is just a train journey away which has endless places. London is definitely on the pricier scale and can add up to a lot. Other closer towns to Luton are more affordable and have a good amount to do.
Luton itself did not have the best night life, even though there was a university campus at the centre of town us placements often sought out nearby towns or central London for a better quality night out.
Apart from meeting colleagues outside of work there was limited activities to get involved with. There were a few sports clubs however I did not take the opportunity to attend any. I feel there could have been more societies/clubs but we were even encouraged to create a new club if we were interested.