Part of one of the Product Marketing sub-teams.
Responsible for the product, pricing, specifications, grade line-up, options, etc for a portfolio of Toyota vehicles.
Also provide the 'eyes and ears' of the product team, tracking the market and competitors to assist with decision making.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The company itself provides a very enjoyable environment with many perks, and the placement role was challenging but fun.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Right from day one I was made to feel like a valued member of the Product Marketing team and company as a whole. There is certainly not a feeling of being a "student", but rather I was given responsibility and respect from the start.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The first few months of my placement were very much about learning the existing processes and responsibilities, and I received a lot of support from my managers and colleagues. The HR team also supported the students in numerous ways, such as providing us with valuable training opportunities and arranging for the students to experience some time in various departments within the company. Towards the second half of my placement we became more responsible for guiding ourselves.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I wouldn't recommend this particular placement to anyone looking to coast through the year - I was extremely busy on a daily basis, particularly in the run up to vehicle launches, and it required a great deal of time management to avoid feeling overworked. There is always plenty to do, but I would much rather be kept on my feet than sit aorund twiddling my thumbs.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I worked in a team of 4 (well, 3 for much of the year) that were responsible for the product decisions (eg. pricing, grade line-ups, specification, etc) for 12 of the vehicles in Toyota's product portfolio. Being part of such a small but crucial team meant that I was able to pick up a great deal of responsibility in my position, such as representing Toyota at car shows and working on presentations for Chief Engineers and TMC Executives.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The teamwork, time management, organisational, managerial, communication and presentation skills that I developed during my year at Toyota will assist greatly in my studies and beyond. The training I received, such as Excel and Giving Presentations will also be particularly useful.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The people in my office were keen to have fun and lighten the atmosphere, but also knew when to knuckle down when the work was required.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement was well organised with a number of training initiatives and support set up. There were some aspects which could have been improved such as pulling forward the timing of inductions and providing more support with annual reviews, but I am aware that the HR department were working on improving the placement/graduate scheme structure during the past year.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was given the opportunity to attend training in Excel, Presentations, A3 documents, JATO and mTab (systems used in my department), as well as spending time with the field sales team.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The graduate scheme is in its infancy at Toyota, but hopefully I have proven my abilities during my placement, and there is the prospect of being invited back to the graduate scheme assessment, or possibly even re-join the company in a full time non graduate position.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was around 20 students on placement at Toyota, who mostly all met for lunch, drinks etc, during working hours, and also went out socially at weekends/evenings as most students lived in the local area.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Living costs are fairly high in the area, and so it is best to try and find a flat to share with other students. I was fortunate enough to live at home, which meant I was able to save some extra money but didn't miss out on the socialising. Going out can also be expensive in London/Surrey, but there are also plenty of cheaper places with good transport links.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Nightlife in the immediate area (Epsom) was minimal, but areas like Sutton, Wimbledon and Kingston are not far away with a good nightlife, or altneratively central London is fairly easy to get to by train/bus.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were a number of activites outside of work, such as bike rides, cinema and theatre visits, pub quizzes, etc.