Overall I was given a huge amount of responsibility and was treated as more than a placement student, but a full time member of staff which was great! Unfortunately though the department I was in wasn’t very social and on a whole I felt distanced from others in the department and with other students on placement. I believed the company could have encouraged placement students to intermingle more by enabling all to have the same or similar lunch times. Overall I enjoyed my experience however over my time I did feel like too much pressure was put on placement students and the support network wasn’t always there.
I got along well with the other members in my team and really got to know each of them well. However as mentioned above I didn’t really feel part of the department I worked in and the wider company. In addition upon leaving my placement and receiving a final appraisal I felt very disheartened that a lot of the work I had contributed towards and projects I had managed and developed where over looked by my mentor and seen to be merely meeting the ‘norm’.
The manager I worked with and the majority of my colleges were amazing. They massively supported me through my placement year and helped me when needed whilst still giving me control over certain aspects. However near to the end of my placement my relationship with my mentor started to ‘fray’ as we started to work from home. I felt uncomfortable working from home and felt pressure to ‘give evidence’ of the work I was doing instead of being trusted to continue working as normal from home.
The particular team I worked within (Customs) had a lot of pressure due to future issues (Brexit). Which obviously cascade down to me as a member of a team. I would often be expected to work beyond the contracted 39h week normally by at least 3-5 h. As a student who had additional responsibilities such as course work for university and with this being my first full-time job. The busy weeks had a knock on effect which led to be becoming very drained and tired the majority of the time which I believe impacted my experience as a whole.
I was given a huge amount of responsibility in my placement. This ranged from leading outside teams and developing new working systems to presenting data to a variety of audiences which included the senior head of European customs. I felt like more than just a placement student and was given responsibilities that full time staff were given. Even though it was beneficial to have this level of responsibility it would have been nicer to have more support within my role.
Unfortunately the particular team I worked in wasn’t necessarily related to my degree. However I have developed a multitude of skills that should help me in future careers and studies. Nissan have an amazing training schedule that helped me develop skills such as presenting and assertiveness. Also I developed my skills through my day to day tasks these included working to time frames, confidence with using softwares such as excel and ability to critically analyse data.
As mentioned previously the team I worked in where all friendly and welcoming. However the department on a whole were not very sociable. This is an area that they are working on Improving via encouraging members to take part in certain activities such as CSR days and festive activities over Christmas. However through my experience unfortunately this seems to be an up hill battle and this attitude is quite ingrained within the department.
Overall there were a lot of activities planned for placement students throughout the year which was very good. However as expected COVID stopped certain activities from taking place. It would have been nice to have these activities reorganised so they could’ve taken place online, as many of the placement students didn’t see or talk to each other face to face since Christmas. Even though on a whole it was well organise I believe on a more department based level it could’ve been better organised.
As mentioned previously Nissan have an amazing set of internal training courses placement students can take part of. This is very useful if highlighted to the students and encouraged by mentors (which luckily I was), however if not this aspect can be overlooked. Towards the end of my placement the training team started to encourage certain departments to take part in external training for softwares such as excel, however due to COVID myself and others were unable to take part in them.
Above 25 days holiday
Overall I enjoyed my experience whilst at Nissan. However if returning I would probably apply to a different department as I feel I would gain a better social experience then from the department I was in. As a whole Nissan is a good company to work for however it sometimes feel that different departments and even different managers within the departments implement the ‘rules’ differently. This is probably something I will take into account if returning to Nissan.
The placement team tried to encourage placement students to socialise together where possible. However this idea wasn’t encouraged by all mentors which resulted in certain placement students feeling not part of the placement student group. The events the placement team set up were great, but due to COVID a lot of social event were cancelled which was quite disappointing. As mentioned previously the social aspects within my team were great, however as a department on a whole there want a real ‘social’ side.
Working in the North East meant that living costs were on the most part low. However with the location of Nissan many placement students needed access to cars as public transport would take a lot longer to get to work which created additional upfront costs. Whilst at work we didn’t have to pay for uniform or parking which saved us all some money and the food from the canteen was on the whole good quality for a low price. In addition whilst at Nissan placement students could take advantage of the discounted onsite gym memberships.
Nissan Sunderland is well situated near to Newcastle which is where the majority of placement students lived. As many people know Newcastle offers a great nightlife at not too high a cost. Also there is a huge amount of options for social events such as ghetto golf, bowling and inflate space which as a group us as placement students took advantage of when not all students want to go out for a typical ‘night out’.
This area wasn’t well discussed whilst at Nissan. The only outside club I heard of was a golf society which was as a result of one of the members sitting next to me whilst at work. Nissan do offer both a discounted gym membership at the onsite gym and the large sports and social club in the car park. However not much was discussed to myself on what events/clubs take place here or classes available.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
28th October 2020