As an Early Trading Assistant I was in charge of pricing package holidays and flights in line with customer demand and working on strategies for increasing sales volume and margins. I had to work with detailed management information in order to assess the performance of the products on offer and achieve some stretching targets. My responsibilities included communicating with purchasers and the product team and working towards improving profits by feeding back on the performance of each product.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
It was a challenging year, but very enjoyable nonetheless. There were times when it felt like the best job in the world. However, during the busier periods it would test my will, but then it felt just as good to know I'd pushed through.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The team is very friendly and there are many ways to collaborate on tasks with your team members on a day-to-day basis. The good thing is that an assistant's opinion is valued just as much as that of people in more senior positions.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The managers in my team were very helpful, but it was also good to see that I was encouraged to demonstrate proactive behaviour by trying to cope with most of the tasks on my own and only asking for help when necessary.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
This was a matter of personal preference as the nature of my job required lots of analysis, so essentially, it was up to me to decide how much time to spend on each task and to determine how in-depth my analysis needed to be.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Even though I was a placement, I was treated with respect and my opinion was valued just as much as that of other team-members in a full-time position. I was given a lot of guidance but two months in my placement I was making most of the major decisions about the resorts I was looking after.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I think it was very beneficial for me to do a placement year as it taught me essential transferable and people skills, as well as a lot of hands on experience. It was really good to relate all the business models and theories from my studies to a real business environment and observe the results of my actions in a real-life business setting.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office was always buzzing and people were genuinely friendly and very helpful. There was always something going on in terms of workshops, presentations, department insight days, bake sales and social events.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The induction week, workshops and training sessions were all excellent and the structure of the placement year was very good, allowing students to really get to know the organisation inside and out. There were monthly placement meetings and even a conference abroad to experience the company's products.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
For my mid-year review I received extensive feedback collated and summarised by an external agency; I also took part in a workshop in order to assess my working behaviour and I was provided with a full psychological profile with helpful advice on office dynamics, e.g. how to approach my opposite work type. In addition, here were numerous opportunities for me to attend insight sessions and days within other departments.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would like to return to the company but I would also like to explore other roles than the one I was assigned during my placement.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were lots of opportunities to go out at company staff parties, as well as team-organised activities.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
You could grow tired of Luton but it was definitely a lot cheaper than any other town I've lived in.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There were a few bars in Luton itself, but mostly people would go to the neighbouring towns of Saint Albans and Harpenden. Ideally, a night out in London would be organised every now and then and it was only 40 minutes away on the train.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were many openings for side projects around the business, as well as plenty external opportunities to get involved in charity work and volunteering.