1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my time working with Network Rail. The work was interesting and every week I would have days dedicated to either trips up to other Network Rail offices such as the ones in Manchester & Rugby, or talks about the specific roles and departments within corporate services.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The colleagues around you really do treat you like a family. I found that they were always looking for work for me to get on. I got the sense that they really did value my time and appreciate the work I completed for them.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
We were allocated buddy's for our time within the departments we were moving around in; they were always extremely helpful and thoughtful and willing to guide you through the intricate details of a very complex organisation! I never got the sense I couldn't ask certain individuals a question and was never shrugged off or told to speak to someone else, even if it was obvious they were stressing about their workload.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was busy a majority of the days I was working here. Once i'd finished a specific task, I was typically allocated another as quickly as possible and it's always important to ask around to get yourself out there. We were given individual projects and group projects to complete over the 9/10 week period so at any point I didn't have any work I'd just crack on with that.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Thinking about the tasks I had to complete the responsibility ranged. There were a couple of menial tasks that involved helping update certain spreadsheets but there were a ton of times where I was doing work that would eventually go straight to the group manager, whether to provide insight or for use in presentations. I was surprised actually at the magnitude of some of the tasks I was given.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The role definitely helped improve my Excel skills which whilst not fundamental to my degree, will definitely be fundamental to my career in the future. There are the obvious communication and presenting skills as well that you get the chance to enhance.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It depends on what week of the period you are in. During the later weeks (4 weeks in a period), you can tell everyone is working hard to meet their deadlines. But overall the general atmosphere was great for the two departments I was in, everyone is chatty and friendly and enjoying themselves.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
There was timetable set up when I joined with events over the following 10 weeks. Typically 1-3 times a week we would have scheduled talks or presentations or out of site visits, with the rest of our time being spent with our teams. There were a couple of occasions where events had to be rescheduled, but nothing too devastating. As being part of the first year of summer interns, it seemed to be well organised.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We had presentation and interview workshops which were extremely useful, something NR didn't have to do for us but did so anyways which was fantastic.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Very appealing, they really sell the graduate scheme which is something I definitely will apply for. There is a very good opportunity for progression within NR, especially for graduates, depending on how hard you try.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Definitely, there were occasions where we were invited our for drinks and lunch. Some of us also got the chance to go to Westwood which is a multi-million pound facility designed for meetings and talks. We had the chance to hang out there at night, go to the bar, play pool etc. All of us travelled to and from work so it was hard to socialise outside of work with the other interns.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
All of us travelled to and from work so this isn't really as applicable. NR itself offers relatively cheap meals and drinks and there are plenty of bars outside and around Milton Keynes.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
As before, travelling to and from work made this hard. But there were activities that could get apart in, mostly around fitness and health.