1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year at Network Rail and learnt a wide range of information and developed a range of skills that will benefit my future career.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very valued by my colleagues. With the level of responsibility I was given, I felt as if I was viewed as a fully contributing member of the team, as opposed to a student that is only around for 12 months.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
If I ever needed any guidance from my manager, or any member of the team, they were all more than ready to help.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
With any job you have your busy days and your quieter days. I felt that I had a constant stream of work to keep busy. I enjoyed the challenge of balancing the time spent on different schemes during busier periods.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a suprising amount of responsibility. Within my first 3 months, I was attending meetings by myself for the schemes I was involved with, as well as attending meetings when my mentor couldn't. In such meetings I felt more than able to contribute where required. Certain schemes I completely took the lead for my team which was very challenging but an awesome learning experience.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
A lot of the skills I have developed over this year originate from what I have learnt from textbooks/lectures at university. It was extremely beneficial to use my placement year as an opportunity to put the skills in to practice in a real working environment.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office is very large and open plan, so there is definitely a social element to the working day. However, getting my head down and working when required is never an issue. The location within the office for my team provided a good working/social balance.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Overall it was very well organised with regards to assignment of work and training on IT systems. However, my line of work required working in a particular area that necessitates specialist training. I wasn't booked in on the training course before my placement and had to wait a few months for a space on a course. I felt that this could have been organised prior to my start date but it wasn't the end of the world!
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
As part of my career path, I will undertake my RICS APC assessment. I wasn't fully aware of the requirements to gaining chartered status, therefore the company paid for a training course that I attended which really benefited my personal development.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
Healthcare from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I have learnt a great deal on my placement year and would love to return to the company on completion of my studies. I have been recommended by my line manager for the graduate scheme which was one of my personal goals for the year.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I have made really good friends with 2 other placement students, one of whom I lived with for the placement year. We will all be keeping in touch. Apart from these 2 individuals, other placement students were not as keen to socialise which was a shame.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I rented an apartment within a mile of the office at a very reasonable price. Location-wise, my accommodation was also close to the city centre which was an added bonus. Socialising in Manchester is quite expensive but wasn't too bad considering I was working and earning.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife in Manchester is great. There is a wide range of venues to appease many different tastes.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I went away for 2 days to the lakes with placement students and graduates to raise money for a children's charity, taking part in a range of activities and socialising. I felt there could have been more activities organised, however I realise this isn't always possible due to the large amount of people that would be involved.