I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year as a Paralegal Intern. I was able to gain lots of experience in an in-house role and also progress my skills with good feedback sessions from my manager. I felt included within the business, which helped to make the placement more enjoyable. Due to the pandemic I changed roles to assist the business, however this experience was not as enjoyable as the role I was meant to be doing.
I felt valued within my team, but also by others within the office, especially if I was able to give them a quick answer or chase up my manager on a task. There was a raffle ticket reward scheme which people could give to you if they felt you done something beneficial for them, which was a good way to know that you were valued even from other parts of the business, who you might not have received direct feedback from.
At minimum we had monthly catch up sessions to give feedback on the work I had completed in the past month. We normally had more frequent meetings to review the work. Additionally, I would usually receive feedback straight away on smaller tasks, and if needed how to improve the work completed. Support was also given surrounding non-work matters, my manager always wanted to ensure my home life was fine, and also gave my plenty of advice for my future career.
It varied from week to week, however I always had an underlying project to focus on. There were occasion where I needed more work, however I was able to openly discuss this with my manager and work out what I could do in the meantime until there was another main task to complete. There was always a more 'intern' job to be doing at all times which I could return to if I was not busy.
A significant amount of responsibility was given when undertaking projects, my manager would always be there to give guidance, however there was an understanding that projects were to be conducted by myself, and then my manager to check over at the end. This would involve co-ordinating the tasks needed to be completed, managing my time, and ensuring everything was completed to a high standard. Occasionally I would attend meetings to provide a legal insight and relay information to my manager about matters relevant to our team.
I was able to really extend my legal skills that I had learnt at University, such as legal research which was undertaken daily on placement. I was also able to develop soft skills such as communication and time management, both of which were essential on placement. I was able to gain a good insight into Volvo as a business through training, however I did not receive specific training for my role. I will be able to take the skills learnt into my future career.
It was a very friendly atmosphere within the office, very little conflict around the office. Everyone would always be happy to help and interested in how you were doing. At first I felt more like an 'outsider' however over the course of my placement I was able to feel more included with everyone in the office, and all the interns were very friendly. The Christmas spirit with competitions really stood out as being a good environment to work within.
It was well organised, but it could be improved in ensuring you are properly introduced to everyone you might need to be in contact with. However, I was always able to ask if there were people I didn't know. The training given in the first two weeks helped to get to know everyone in the office and what they did. I knew from the start of the placement the kinds of tasks I would be involved with, and each week I would receive tasks to complete, and more as and when were needed.
Although we received generalised training at the start of placement, I wouldn't say they invested in my personal training in my role to a large extent. There were opportunities to develop however these were available to everyone. COVID-19 potentially got in the way of more training being provided and programmes which would have ran during this time.
Within my team it would be unlikely for me to return due to the small size of the team, and lack of graduate scheme/ training required for my career path. However, I would not exclude Volvo from future career prospects, however I do not expect to be returning there within the next 10 years as the role of in-house counsel requires significant experience. If i wanted a change of career path I wouldn't exclude other areas of the business either.
As a group of interns we all reached out to stay connected, due to the split of the interns between different offices, I remained closer to those within my office. We went for lunch together every day and did other activities outside of work such as going out for dinners and ice skating at Christmas. There was a smaller social scene with others in the office, there was a Christmas party and other social events however not everyone got involved with these.
Reasonable cost of living outside of Warwick, I commuted to work as it was not far from where I already lived. However, if i did need to relocate it would not have been to Warwick due to the cost of living there. It would still likely be seen as cheaper than London though.
There were clubs/bars to go to in nearby areas such as Leamington Spa or Coventry. Coventry is a very student built up area, however you can go into Birmingham for more of a variety.
There were 'pillars' which you could be involved with, which would organise events for the rest of the business. There were Christmas markets, fund raising events such as for Children in Need. Just before the first lockdown came, all the interns were organising a Sports Relief event day. These all took place during work, however outside of work there were also volunteering to take place in such as litter picking or helping local businesses, and the Christmas party.
Placement Year (10 Months+)