Enterprise is a good stepping-stone for gaining transferable skills. I enjoyed my placement as it was not difficult and actually fun as you are often out on the road. You get to meet a lot of people in your area and get the opportunity to work in other branches. However, some branches operate better than others and if your branch is underperforming it is difficult to develop. I found that there are far better placements out there that offer a better work-life balance and pay a better salary with more benefits. Disclaimer: Due to Covid-19, all placement students were made redundant with no notice and my placement was 9 months rather than a year long.
I felt valued by my colleagues at Enterprise. You find that you will spend a lot of time with your colleagues in the office and out on the road and so you will learn a lot from each other. There is also some healthy competition when it comes to selling extras to customers and upgrading customers to more expensive cars. However, I found that the dynamic of the branch often changed as people often left to find careers elsewhere. I worked in a small Enterprise branch and I was one of the more experienced employees as a placement student.
I did get a lot of support from my managers especially at the beginning when I was learning how the business operates. However, as the year progressed, I found that there was a 'blame culture' if anything did go wrong. It was difficult not to make mistakes as the branch was always busy and someone had to be blamed. If the managers in my branch were busy, I found that I could turn to other people in the company for support. I could contact HR in the Headoffice or the Area Manager for support. I also had a mentor who I met over lunch to discuss my development and voice my concerns.
I found that my branch was understaffed and we always found ourselves very busy. You will find yourself working an average of 60hours per week as the opening hours do not apply. You will be expected to start at 7.45 am and work up until 9 pm on certain days until every vehicle is delivered/collected and the admin work is done for the next day. You will either have one 30minute break or no break at all on very busy days and you will be expected to eat your lunch on the move. You do get paid for overtime but you will be on a minimal wage. Managers want you to progress but are always so busy that it never goes anywhere. Any preparation for tests or projects is left until the last minute and is rushed. I have seen my manager fall asleep at work from the stress and lack of sleep. There have been some less busy days, especially when coronavirus started affecting the business and people began renting fewer cars. Even then, there is plenty of admin work to do and email/phone calls to be made to customers to confirm their booking, cars to be cleaned.
I was given more responsibility than what was expected of a Management Trainee. I got the opportunity to operate the branch by myself for the day. This involved sending the whole team out on the road whilst I stayed in the office to serve customers and handle telephone calls and queries. You will find yourself working on various tasks in the office that demonstrate to you how to run a successful business. However, there were some tasks that were quite repetitive or you will often find yourself cleaning cars. You will be expected to drive any vehicle from a small manual Toyota to an automatic Mercedes or a large commercial van.
The Management Trainee role did not assist me in my degree but it might be useful for students studying Business or Management. You will be shown how to run a business from looking at financial statements, making additional revenue through sales and operating the branch. I have improved on some of my transferrable skills such as time management, problem-solving and logistics. However, I would spend the majority of the day delivering and collecting cars which did not help much with my development, only that I am now a much better driver.
The general atmosphere in the office was okay but towards the end of the week moral would drop as we were often busy and exhausted. There would be customers outside even before we were open, and if a customer was angry it created a very awkward atmosphere, not only for the team but also for other customers. The branch was very small and there were not enough desks for when the whole team was present in the morning. The phone would ring non-stop which made it difficult to have a conversation with customers. My managers would often argue about what was the right thing to do for the branch and that did not create a nice atmosphere. But it was nice to know that you would be sent out on the road for the day and would not have to spend all your time in the office.
The overall placement is set up very well but it really depends on luck as to which branch you work in and what your overall experience will be like.
There is extensive training in the first week where you learn a lot about Enterprise and also a lot of the training comes from shadowing and learning on the job. You will be having frequent training at different intervals throughout your placement meaning that your learning was being reinforced. You will be given a company car whenever you do attend training at the Headoffice. There is a quick staff turn-over at Enterprise and I found that I was training new members of staff even as a Management Trainee.
I have been told that I could come back to Enterprise after I graduate but I will be looking for roles elsewhere.
I was the only placement student in my nearest area.
I was taken out for a free lunch with my mangers and mentor during work but there was no socialising outside of work.
At Enterprise, no one socialised outside of work. I found that being a busy branch left you with no work-life balance. There was a Summer Ball to celebrate financial achievements for that fiscal year but no Christmas party or anything organised by the branch itself.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Administration/Secretarial, Customer Service, Sales, Transportation