My placement are RCI was an excellent opportunity to gain an insight into the working world and office life. Everyday presented a different task which allowed me to enjoy coming to work daily and seeing what challenges I would be presented with. I built a strong social circle during my placement, which really helped balance hard work with enjoyment. RCI go out of their way to attempt to incorporate an element of enjoyment into the work place. This was especially visible during celebrations such as Christmas.
Throughout my placement I was reassured by my team that I was a valuable member of the department. The importance of my role was often pointed out to be and subsequent visible in operation. I was invited to important meetings with senior members of staff as well as social events with the team, since as lunches. This provided a welcoming culture where I felt my input was essential to the team. In addition, being kept up to date with news and updates in the department made me feel like especially integrated into the team.
From my first day, my managers were very supportive of my progress. My managers perfected the delicate balance between respecting my development as a placement student compared with reviewing my position as a trusted employee. Everyone in the team constantly encouraged me to ask questions no matter how big or small the issue may be. It was reiterated that they are happy to answer any question and they would rather I ask than make a mistake. That being said, towards the start of my placement the support and guidance mechanisms lacked structure and I wasn't afforded much time with my manager, due to how busy they were. This was later noticed and I changed manager, as a result, I had weekly meetings to discuss my progress and concerns. I found this a very productive alternative, where I received plenty of support.
Day to day I was incredibly busy and there was rarely anytimes where I was lacking work to do. Due to the variety and scope of my role, new challenges always presented themselves and I had multiple tasks to keep on top of. At times this did become overwhelming and hard to manage, but my managers were always on hand to offer support. overall, although I was always busy, I would prefer this than being bored (which I can never say I experienced), so was happy with my workload.
One thing that struck me straight away on my placement is the vast amount of responsibility I was offered. This comes back to the fact that I was often treated as a valued employee, rather than being seen as an intern. As a result, I was able to contribute to a variety of important tasks. This provided insight into how high level functions and operations take place. I was also often in meetings with senior members of staff and was able to witness the work of other department. With such a high level of responsibility it put a sense of pride into my work and encouraged me to work harder as I knew the magnitude of repercussions of a mistake.
As my placement was not related to my degree, there are few hard skills I could take back to my final year of studies. However, the soft skills I learnt were invaluable and will assist me not only in future employment, but also in general life. Throughout my placement I became accustom to working in a corporate office environment and consequently, I developed the communication, organisation and creative skills that come with this. I have no doubt these skills will be beneficial in the future.
The atmosphere in the office was always pleasant and generally upbeat. This applied to both in my department and the wider office. The vibe was not too professional and not what you would commonly associate with a 'bank'. There was often a lot of laughter and jokes across the office. This helped make the work more enjoyable. All colleagues were friendly and approachable so I was able to feel relaxed and confident in the office.
The organisation of the internship set up is most noticeable within the first few weeks and months. During this time there is numerous learning and ice breaker activities. Interns were encouraged to get to know each other and bond. There was also a lunch with the Managing Director, which was helpful to get a managerial perspective of the direction of the company. Overtime as the interns grew in experience we assimilated into the roles of valued employees, so understandably had less organised events.
As mentioned earlier the interns had several days where we went through training about the company. This was made interactive and fun, so was something to look forward to rather than a chore. This allowed us to get a better understanding of the business set up, which in turn made our work more understandable. However, this training was not all substance based, we also went orienteering around the local area, which was a great way to explore and bond with other interns.
Above 25 days holiday
RCI offer a rotational graduate scheme which looks very appealing. It is encouraging to meet past interns who had come back to the company and entered the graduate scheme. It was even more so encouraging to see employees on the graduate scheme flourishing in the company and eventually coming off the graduate scheme and entering an influential position. Although the rotational graduate scheme appears effective it only encompasses certain departments in its rotation, so not all departments have future employment prospects
All of the placement students were introduced via a Facebook group prior to commencing our placements. This was helpful as it allowed us to get to know each other and consider house shares before we started. During the first few weeks we had many learning activities to get to know each other. As a result we were all very friendly and near bestfriends at the company. We often socialised both inside and outside of the workplace. There was also interns at the neighbouring partners Renault and Nissan, who we got to know to further expand the scope of socialising.
Being so close to London, the area is quite expensive. However, it was never too much to prevent me from going out.
Rickmansworth has a few pubs which we visited on occasion but its not the most exciting place. Nearby Watford and London were the more enticing options which weren't at all far.
There was a run club which occurred most weeks. Many departments had individual activities such as celebratory parties. Other than this there was not much in the way of activities outside of work.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
16th October 2020