I absolutely loved my placement here at PSA Peugeot Citroen. I was given huge amounts of responsibility from day 1 and I have been exposed to some of the highest senior management there is. They allow you to pursue your aspirations and support to the whole way. I will be extremely sad to leave this company, and I can only hope to return once I finish university. The flexibility to get involved in all areas of the business has allowed me to develop myself and figure out what I want to do as a career.
My team make it obvious to me that they don't want me to leave. I will eventually be replaced by another placement student, however for the first time; the role I have adopted has become a full time role due to the circumstances that happen in business life. We go out for a drink when we can and the atmosphere in the company is second to none. I feel like a permanent member of the team, and feel that I will be missed.
I have been fortunate enough to have had two great Line Managers as well as a very supportive Placement Manager. All three are extremely approachable and will help/assist with any need. No question is silly, as they fully understand this is really my first experience of a multi-national head office. Many senior manager's in PSA Peugeot Citroen came through the placement scheme and returned as graduates, which means your experience with management is even more personalised as they know how it feels to be an industrial placement student. I cannot put it into words how much it means to have a great manager behind you, as it makes your whole experience a 100% easier and more enjoyable.
I have been fortunate to have spent my whole 12 months within PSA Peugeot Citroen's very own retail segment, Peugeot Citroen Retail Group. As you can imagine in retail, it's exceptionally busy and fast paced. Things change on a daily basis and you have to react to certain situations that are unexpected. You have to develop the ability to drop what you are doing and focus on something new, and time management then really becomes key. I could quite easily work late every night, but that when your management team really shine and do not expect you to do more than is needed. I know some other placement students weren't as busy as myself so maybe my answer is a little biased, but there is never a lack of work, otherwise the company wouldn't employ us.
I have become vital to the recruitment advisor in the retail group, and we wouldn't be filling any of our vacancies without my help. From day 1 I was given our objectives to complete in my time, and these objectives are challenging but achievable with the right mind-set. I was able to present one of my projects to the CEO of the retail group, due the depth of my findings. This was a great honour and really made me feel valued. As mentioned beforehand, my role almost feels permanent so I couldn't ask for more responsibility.
The skills I have learnt will inevitably help me with my degree, I am certain of it. If anything, this year has encouraged me to go back to university and achieve even higher marks throughout my modules. I think the biggest factor is that I have now learned where I want to pursue a career in, and beforehand I had no idea what I wanted to do once I finished university. My time here has enabled me to develop skills for life, and I will take my experiences with me wherever I go. The training from an external company that we received was the best training I had ever been part of, and that just shows how much PSA Peugeot Citroen want to develop their employees. I think my time here has made me a much more well-rounded individual.
Overall the atmosphere was great. As long as you get your work done, you are allowed to go to our very own coffee shop and have breaks. There isn't any strict routine that needs to be followed. Due to the retail environment I was in, lots of our head office employees are regional and some days it can be very busy or quite quiet. Never the less, whoever is in the office, they are always welcoming and there is always laughter and jokes. You'll notice that towards the end of the month that people are focused to hit targets and budgets, but that just adds to the atmosphere.
Our scheme started with a week long induction, and although some of the processes we went through were generic processes, it just shows that they care and want to give the same treatment to each employee. We had organised training and one-to-one meetings with our HR advisors, to develop our skills and to give feedback on how we felt we were getting on. The company has been taken on placement students for years now, and it's no new thing to the company. They know how to treat the students right, and there is plenty of opportunities to get involved in while you are there. Our Placement Manager is always there to help, and she is the first port of call if you need any help. I feel that it could have been run slightly better in the fact that I would have liked to been shown even more areas of the business, or been allowed to get involved with more functions outside the company. But I have been very busy throughout the year so it is very hard to complain to be honest.
The training we received was amazing, and we had internal and mainaly external training. An external provider would come into head office and run the sessions, and they were great. The trainer has experience with previous students at PSA Peugeot Citroen, so he was knowledgable able the scheme and the company. I have given this a score of 9 out of 10, simply because I wish there was more training. 3 sessions over the the whole year means that you are left to your own devices quite a lot, and I would have really benefited from more training sessions to dvelop other skills that I haven't had a chance to use as much. The sessions were really good, and were really thought about as they were really in-depth and completely professional, but carried out with in a friendly fashion. The sessions were relaxed and were meant to really promote engagement. It really makes you feel that the company want to invest in you.
I haven't quite found out yet if I will be offered a graduate job at head office with the company, and that is something that I will find out the day I leave the company. However, the prospect to come back as a retail graduate has been discussed and something that appeals to me more to be honest. So in terms of future employment, I am aware that the retail group would love to see me return to them after university, and I hope the head office team will also like me to return. I could be going back to university with two graduate job offers which is amazing! I'd love to come back to them, and my decision will be made closeer to the the time and on other personal issues. The graduate package offer by both segmemts of the company are really good, and makes the idea of coming back even greater.
From day 1, we got involved with the business apprentices who showed us round head office, and more importantly we socialised with them. We were shown the nightlife of Coventry and spent most of our lunch breaks with the apprentices. Once the graduates had retrurned to head office from university, they became another aspect of our social life. We almost always go out with one or more of the graduates when we go out. Everyone is really friendly and it's hard not to get on with people. I live with 6 other placement students who are also at PSA Peugeot Citroen, so you can only imagine how good th social life is. I have rated it a 9 out of 10 simply because as we wind down to the end of our placement, everyone is busy and the social side of things is dying down a bit. But that is only to be expected to happen.
I thought rent in Coventry would be cheaper. I paid £470 per month in rent, which is quite expensive for Coventry. My housemates all pay slightly different amounts of rent, depending on the size of the room which we thought was fair. I have quite a big room, which ism possible why my rent is higher than normal. But being paid to work for the year, you're never really bothered to see the rent go out. Everything else around Coventry is pretty cheap though and the surrounding areas are much nicer than Coventry City Centre itself. Leamington Spa is good for nightlife and obviously Birmingham is slightly further afield. The cost of food and drink is pretty generic and wouldn't worry anyone. There is plenty of shops to go to, and they are all pretty similar in price. I haven't found it hard to live in Coventry, and I have saved some money up.
Coventry nightlife isn't great. There is Kasbah, Castle and The Establishment that are quite good. I'd avoid JJ's, but it's always a laugh to go there on the odd occasion. As mentioned above, Leamington Spa has a much better nightlife, and normally some of the graduates live there so you can stay over night if you're mates with them. You'll go out a lot at the start of your placement, and it will die down towards the middle and will probably pick up again at the end to celebrate. There's plenty of places to go for drinks and to socialise.
There wasn't a huge amount of activities, but everyone is encouraged to get involved when something comes up. You can win tickets to concerts, football games or even do some charitable events such as sky diving. Being in the automotive world, we are in partnerships with some big names and hold some big functions/events. Normally the placement students get first pick over others when it comes to volunteering to help out at these events. Overall I would have liked to been able to go to more events to represent the brands and the company.