1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My placement year helped me put what I learned from university into context, and into practice. It did so in a company where I felt valued and that I was able to contribute to optimising internal processes, so I was able to see the results of my work. I learned a huge amount through experience and from my colleagues. It provided me with a graduate contract and my future - so I couldn't have enjoyed it more!
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I've had emails thanking me for my effort, but colleagues value each other more than that, in fact enough to ask me if I'm ok working the hours I was working (voluntarily considerable overtime sometimes) and if they can help. There's a nice amount of camaraderie at Atos (at least in the offices I worked in).
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I'll admit, I asked my project manager for help/advice far too much at the start. But he never complained, and always answered my questions. I had not much handover from the two graduates I was replacing, so he filled in the blanks for me willingly. There was never a time where I had questions/needed help and someone wasn't there to answer them. If someone didn't know, they always found someone who did.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Initially my work took up my working hours, but I optimised the processes so reports took less time to produce. This gave me more time to focus on something else - I volunteered to try and continue the automated reporting project that had stalled due to lack of employees to work on it. I didn't realise how much work was involved, but essentially I chose to work those hours and kept being reminded that I could always say no to continuing development on it! In fact I was almost ordered by my project manager to cut back my hours! So, you will be busy enough to work your hours, anything extra is possible but it's your choice! I could have, at any time, declined working on that project in which case I would have been comfortably working my contracted hours.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was first responsible for producing and delivering internal reports - then I was responsible for producing an automated replacement that sourced data from our ERP system nicely, I was also responsible for sourcing data for an automated project management dashboard. I had to field queries from management about the reports and create bespoke reports for them, reports that were sometimes literally relied on. They give you as much responsibility as they think you can handle, but I didn't feel pressured - if you focus on the task and you're confident you're doing things right then there's nothing to worry about!
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I've learned so much on my placement - I started off not very confident and not very relaxed. Through experience I've picked up technical skills (Microsoft SQL Server/SSRS/SSIS/SAP products/databases) but also communication skills and confidence. I've also learned about finances and accounting through some of the reports, as well as how a large company like Atos is structured
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Sociable, quite relaxed but very hard working. People at Atos seemed to be confident enough about their work to stay relaxed and chat to each other as they worked. I didn't feel like I had a stick to my back, I could go and make a hot drink whenever I wanted, or go outside for some fresh air, take a lunch break whenever I wanted (for 1 hour max).
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I did get three separate contracts - first had the wrong start date, second was a graduate one with a typo in my surname, third one was fine. Things have since improved! I was told on my first day what I would be doing. Only issue was some new starter documentation was a bit out of date - I since found that there's a version online that's more recent than what I was given. Codes for online training courses we needed to do were out of date, for example.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
My practice had the IM Academy which was free for us and led to an Advanced Diploma from a major university - four weeks of 'lectures' from colleagues who were experts in their fields, then coursework simulating a project from start to finish.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
Healthcare from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I've already been given my contract to come back as a graduate! Work hard enough as an intern and, if there's space, you'll get one too. And you get £500 per term for the last three terms of your university degree.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I was the only intern in my practice but we had a lot of graduates and we all got on very well. There was the occasional restaurant evening otherwise when we were in the same office we'd sit together at lunch, there were also the usual christmas meals etc.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The main office I worked in was the UK head office, in Euston. Things aren't too cheap around there unless you, like me, go for Tesco/McDonalds. We do have another small office in Aldgate and food around there is very cheap.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I'll admit I never experienced any - not my sort of thing!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Atos encouraged volunteering and while I didn't experience activities outside of work (IM Academy aside - a group trip to Nottingham!) the graduates had volunteering activities (e.g. stemnet)