I was working in a department which was involved in improving Standard Life's processes in order to be able to provide the best service to the customer.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my time at Standard Life; it is a great firm to work for, with lovely people. It was great to be working at the heart of a market-leading company.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt completely valued by my colleagues. The perception that an intern is at the bottom of the office food chain does not apply to Standard Life. From the first day I was welcomed just like any other member of staff, given real responsibility and not molly-coddled.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager was completely supportive of me; on the flip side she did not smother me. We were able to find the perfect balance: she was happy to let me do my own thing but we had regular check-ins to make sure I was on the right track. I felt as if I could bother her at any time with any questions that I may have.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was given two projects to complete, both of which would be adding real value. They were not just bits of work that had been dreamt up to keep me busy. As with any job there were peaks and troughs of work levels. However I didn't feel I could ask for work to do in quieter periods as I already had been given two projects to work on.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was extremely nervous about the level of responsibility I was given right from the beginning of my internship! On the Welcome Day the week before I was due to start, the Managing Director of the Department came to brief me on one of the projects I would be working on, and told me I would be presenting my report back to him at the end of my internship. This was dauting but the pressure actually made me perform at my best.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I have learned so many transferable skills from my time here, especially intellectual and professional maturity. Furthermore, Standard Life held several Intern Development sessions throughout the 10 weeks to build on the skills we were developing day-to-day.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Standard Life, and especially my department, are quite dynamic. No one spends all day in isolation at their desks. There will constantly be meetings going on, just at someone's desk or at one of the meeting tables dotted around the office. This creates a nice buzz of conversation, whilst still being an environment in which to work effectively.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Even though I was the first ever intern in my department, Standard Life's intern programme is extremely well organised: I could see the planning and thought which had gone into making my internship as useful and enjoyable for me and for the company.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
As I have already mentioned there were numerous Intern Development sessions, which ranged from Presentation and Workplace Skills, to an Intern Sustainability ThinkTank where we advised a local charity how to make one of their upcoming intitiatives a success.
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?
Since Standard Life invests so much in the intern, they are looking to hire you. A job is pretty much guaranteed at the end of the internship if you want it. The internship is essentially a 10-week long assessment.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The social scene was amazing; I was surprised by how well I got on with the other interns so quickly. Most of us were living together in apartments for the summer and so it was really easy to organise an impromptu trip to the cinema or meal out. There was an intern social committee which was set up, and Standard Life gave us a budget for nights out during the Edinburgh Festival etc.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of accommodation for me was nothing as Standard Life provided me with a flat for the whole ten weeks! Socialising was slightly more expensive than normal as prices do go up around Festival time, but it was still very affordable.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The office is right in the centre of town, so very handy for grabbing a drink or bite to eat after work.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Standard Life does have several sports teams but these were not very well advertised. The football club is one of the most active.