I thoroughly enjoyed my placement at Croudace Homes. Being on placement enabled me to gain a better understanding of the career path that I want to take, as well as gaining valuable experience which will help my CV and future job prospects. My job role/title was directly related to the degree that I'm studying at University (Computer Networks) which I found very helpful as I was able to build upon my knowledge and skills and put it into practice in the workplace. Overall, I'm satisfied with how much experience I've gained over the past year.
I felt valued by every member of the company including colleagues in the IT department. This really helped me settle in and helped me gain more confidence when doing my job. I was also given the extra responsibility to complete projects with a deadline date and assigned IT tickets on a weekly basis through the IT helpdesk. My manager/supervisor always said positive words about me which I really appreciated and kept me motivated to keep it up the standard that I set for myself.
During my first weeks at Croudace, I was given one-to-one support from my supervisor/Manager. For example, I was given a training plan and given small tasks to do which eased me into my role. During my time at Croudace I had regular meetings to discuss my progress/performance, to add to this I also had my 3-month review which enabled me to work on things that I wasn't so good at so I could improve and become better at my job.
Whilst working at Croudace I worked through Mondays through Fridays in the office. On a normal day, it wasn't too busy however in March 2020 the company was forced to close the office due to lockdown (Covid). This was the most stressful part of my placement because there was more emphasis on remote working and trying to support users that are working from home. Even though I had a lot of work to do it was a good learning curve as I got to gain more experience in such a little time.
I felt like I was given a lot of responsibility, especially during the lockdown as I had to support over 250 users which included Caterham and Letchworth-based staff which I enjoyed. It made me feel that I was valued and trusted by my manager to carry out my job to my best ability. During lockdown my department was low on staff so I have more workload for about 3 months to support users that were working from home which was challenging.
My skills have definitely improved a lot since being on placement at Croudace. I was given more real-life experience in IT systems that I haven't used that much at the University. I was given the required training and assistance need to succeed in my role. Having the experience that I have now is really going to help my going into my final year of university as well as give me a better opportunity to gain a graduate job.
The atmosphere in the office was really good, we knew when was time to concentrate and do work and when to not be too serious which was the perfect balance for me. When I joined the IT department I wasn't the only undergraduate which also helped me to settle in well as I had a lot in common being around other undergrads that are of similar age and are studying an IT course at university.
I was originally the first undergraduate that Croudace has had for my role therefore there were going to be a few mistakes along the way which I was fine with. I was happy the way I was supported and trained along the way and was comfortable asking questions when I was stuck. I would've liked a better organized training plan when I started however this is something that I have changed by helping the next placement student that has replaced me.
Croudace has a training budget that they allocate to employees, for courses during the year. However, I don't think this applies to undergraduates, unfortunately. I would have liked to have furthered my knowledge by going on more courses however you have to be a permanent employee. In terms of one to one training, I had constant support and guidance from my supervisor which was really helpful, I also had regular meetings to discuss my progress.
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
I lived near the office in Caterham which is a very small town on the border of London. I mainly moved there because it was easier for me to commute to work as it was only a 10-minute walk however because Caterham is very small there were not many places to go and visit which I found really difficult. The only good thing is your able to get a train or drive to other parts of London such as Croydon if you want to have a better nightlife.
Croudace has a social club where they hold events such as Its a knockout, 5k runs, or the summer ball which is perfect if you want to get involved in different activities outside of work. However, during the pandemic, most of these events had to be canceled in the process so I only went on a few events during my time with the company. Most departments will also do a Christmas dinner which is really good fun!
Placement Year (10 Months+)
16th October 2020