I was on the commercial placement scheme which meant that I had two six month placements in different departments. The first was in Citroën Marketing in the Online and CRM team. The second was in Parts & Service, firstly working in the recalls team and then helping manage a project in Customer Relations.
I thoroughly enjoyed my work placement and I met some fantastic people throughout the year. I was involved in a large variety of tasks which meant that I gained strong experience in numerous areas, rather than being limited to one or two areas. The company has a professional but very friendly feel to it, where people are always willing to offer a helping hand should you need it.
I felt highly valued by my colleagues as I received praise for my efforts in each department that I was in, as well as feedback for areas to work on. I was always treated as part of the team and I was given work which held a large amount of responsibility.
I felt extremely supported by management/my supervisors and I always felt comfortable raising any issues I had with them. I initially expressed that I wasn't completely confident with Excel and my manager allowed me time each week to complete an E-learning Excel course provided by the company. I felt that if I had an issue, I could speak to my managers on a personal level and express my concerns. They were always really understanding and would help me come to a solution or give me the necessary support required.
At times I was very busy on a daily basis and I would come into work early or leave late to complete tasks I knew I needed to do if I had to meet a strict deadline. However, there would be other times where workload would decrease a lot. I think in most jobs workload can be quite inconsistent and there will be peaks and troughs, but the important thing is voicing it. If I felt like I could do with some more work, I would voice it and I would be given more tasks or responsibility. Similarly if I felt like I had too much work, I would voice it and manage the expectations of others in terms of giving them a time frame of when I could realistically achieve something by.
I was given a huge amount of responsibility in my placement which I felt really grateful to have received. I was involved in producing reports for people of a very high level in the company, I was involved in recruiting new members of staff and I also presented to directors. The amount of responsibility I was given made the job pressurised at times but I thrived off this and gained a wealth of experience from it.
The placement year has given me the skill of liaising with people of different ages, varying levels in the business and a wide range of personalities. I have also learnt how to prioritise my workload which will assist me throughout the remainder of my degree and my working life. Additionally, I have developed an increased business awareness which will enable me to put ideas that I learn throughout my degree into context.
The atmosphere in the office was quite sociable and everyone was very friendly. The office had an 'open door' type policy where someone would always be willing to help. There is also a lot of young people as there are placement students, business apprentices, french VIEs and graduates which means there are a lot of social opportunities.
The placement included an induction week with the other placement students where we got to know each other and got to know a bit about the company and brands we were working for. This week was really well organised and made the process less daunting than going straight into the role. The transition between moving departments was also very well organised and the managers were well prepared for me coming into each role.
We had a few training days throughout the year which were run by an excellent trainer. They were a great opportunity to reflect on the experiences I'd had in the company and develop myself as a person. There is also E-Learning that is available with courses to help languages, Microsoft Office skills and general skills needed in a role such as communication. I also attended some 'Ride and Drive' sessions which is where employees are given the chance to drive a new model when it comes out. This was really exciting and meant that you get a real feel for the product and can be more passionate about it.
There is a high chance that as a placement student, you will get invited back as a graduate. Many people that I have met at PSA were originally placement students and came back to the company after completing the final year of university. This opportunity is appealing because it is an excellent company to work for with lots of opportunities for progression and movement within the company. The people in the organisation really do make it what it is and I think it would be a great team to be a part of.
There was an excellent social scene as a lot of us needed to find somewhere to live in Coventry, so a group of us that needed a house lived together. Within the company there are placement students, graduates, business apprentices and French placement students so there is a lot of people who are on similar schemes. This means there are a lot of social opportunities and I am coming away with a number of great friends due to this.
The cost of living wasn't the cheapest I have experienced but this is because we needed a 7 bedroom house and the one we ended up living in has an ensuite in every room. Generally, the cost of living and socialising in Coventry is very reasonable. Surrounding areas are more expensive, such as Leamington where some people do choose to live.
Coventry has various bars/clubs and Leamington is very close by and is a great night out. We also went out in Birmingham on a few occasions so there is a lot of options available.
There were lots of opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work. I was given the opportunity to complete a half marathon which was through the Heart of England Community Foundation (a charity connected to PSA). I also helped out at an evening of entertainment for this charity. Due to the company's connections with Children in Need, there is opportunity there to get involved in fundraising events. There were social nights throughout the year such as the Christmas party, quiz night and socials with the placement students, business apprentices and graduates. Additionally, I got involved in cooking classes that were run by the canteen at head office. On top of this, we had a fantastic year organising our own activities and various trips which were not run by the company, but done with people in the company.