Assisting the Route Asset Management - Structures Team with various business tasks. Principally working on the Buildings and Civils Examinations In-sourcing Project.
This placement was a fantastic opportunity which allowed me to develop so many skills in terms of business and project management. I was able to undertake such a wide and varied range of activities and network with many high level managers during my time at Network Rail.
I was welcomed as a member of the team straight away. The great thing about Network Rail is that they don't treat you like a student or a trainee; I was treated like any other member of staff and thrown in the deep end to allow me to show my true abilities. I was trusted with high level tasks of great importance which really made me feel that my skills were valued and trusted.
I was in constant contact with my manager and supervisor. My manager made the effort to ensure that they were aware of my career aspirations and ensured that tasks were allocated surrounding these. I had regular meetings with my manager to discuss my progress and to discuss any areas where I felt I wanted to gain more experience.
Due to the project I was working on being a route-wide, large scale project, I was extremely busy on a day to day basis. Even at times when work was slowing down for the project, the team were able to facilitate me by providing alternative tasks which provided me with experience in different areas if the business.
I was tasked with completing tasks for executive managers and important union meetings, something which I would have never imagined prior to joining the company. I was also given ownership of various important areas of the project which allowed me to prove my abilities. In addition to this I was trusted to take responsibility whenever the project manager was unavailable; again allowing me to show that I could step up to the plate.
Already being back at university I have noticed the difference the placement experience has made. I feel much more relaxed in my final year studies and also I am able to apply really life experience to my studies which has helped greatly. The project and business management skills that I developed on my placement will definitely assist in my future career. I was able to see the benefit of the skills developed already whilst progressing through my placement year. Finally, the opportunity given to learn about the rail industry and the operational side of the business will stand me in good stead for a future career in the rail industry.
The office was very relaxed and although everyone worked very hard and concentrated on their own work, the team element could still be felt with the way that everybody was so friendly with each other and that you could always find someone to help you when you needed further information for your work.
Although a set structure or job role wasn't given for the placement, this worked in my favour as I was able to organise and structure my own placement based on what I wanted to achieve.
Network Rail invests greatly in it's placement students and graduates as future leaders. The tasks provided allowed my to gain a wide range of skills which will allow me to work towards my future goals. Opportunities were set up to meet the executive route team allowing us to network and get our foot in the door early on.
Being given the opportunity to return to Network Rail on the graduate scheme is very exciting. The General Management Scheme is organised to allow graduates to create their own future and really discover what they want to do. Having already experienced this at the company I am really looking forward to my future with the organisation.
I was in constant contact with my fellow placement students and graduates which allowed us to discuss and compare our experiences and share advice with each other. In terms of my team, the social scene was great, we regularly went out on a Friday after work and also had two Christmas nights out which were very fun and allowed everyone to socialise and get to know each other.
I was able to live at home as I worked in Manchester where I live which was a great advantage. I drove to work and was able to gains car parking space which was a great advantage. Food at the office was very affordable as were the many surrounding eateries at Piccadilly Station and in Manchester centre.
Manchester nightlife is very fun with so many different places to go from; quirky bars in the Northern Quarter, nightclubs on Deansgate Locs and classy bars in Spinningfields.
There are various sporting events to get involved in at Network Rail for charity and also for fun. In addition to this various alternative events such as watching the office band play, are organised to raise money for charity.