My Enterprise journey started long before I joined the company in September 2011. I first heard about the Enterprise internship scheme in my first year at University whilst at a SIFE UK Training Event- this is where I met Kate Wood for the first time. Kate spoke to me about the scheme and while it sounded interesting, at the time I had no intention of taking a year out of University: I had signed up for a 3 year course, and I wanted to do a 3 year course.
It was only after I had completed my first year at University that I even thought about doing a placement year. I could see how difficult it was to find a job in the current employment market and also how important it was to have some kind of work experience on your CV. So being a typical student, I went on the Top 100 graduate recruiters website and started to trawl through the different applications. Being busy with not only my degree but running a 400 student strong social enterprise at the time, I had very little time to do applications, so started to take more note about the companies I wanted to apply to and whether it was genuinely somewhere where I wanted to work.
As cheesy as it sounds Enterprise was the only internship programme where I was genuinely excited about applying, it had everything that I wanted from not only an internship, but also a potential graduate job. Looking through their website, I remember the feeling of excitement as I looked at their founding values ‘Giving back to the community’ and ‘Working hard, but rewarding hard work’ –these were values I had always had personally, so to find a company that also valued them was very unique. Furthermore through my involvement with SIFE I had met many Enterprise staff – all of them were approachable, motivated and inspiring – something that to this day I still find differentiates Enterprise from all of their graduate competitors. At this point I was still set on doing only a 3 month internship, but after careful consideration I finally decided to take a whole year out and luckily I got the job!
Whilst at Enterprise on my placement year I was exposed to every area of the business: customer service, marketing, sales and employee development. To say that you are given complete autonomy is no underestimation – on my first day I was given the University of Sheffield rental account as my very own to look after. As part of the placement scheme you are given the exact same training as a graduate on the programme meaning you are exposed to every area that a graduate would be. This is not only advantageous as it means that as an intern you are treated exactly the same as everyone else, but also it gives you the opportunity to progress through your training to the stage at which if you chose to return at the end of your degree you are already a stage ahead of any graduate in your position. During my placement year, I completed the graduate programme within 7 months and was promoted to a Management Assistant – which I think shows clearly how Enterprise Rent-A-Car sticks to their values: if you work hard, you will be rewarded.
It was this success which helped contribute to being shortlisted to the Placement Student of the Year award. When back at University, all the students who had been on a placement were sent the email explaining the different awards – I had no idea whether I was even eligible let alone able to win any of the them, so I forwarded the email on to my Area Manager. It was my Area Manager Ant who nominated me for the award. It was a combination of all of the reasons above therefore that in turn meant that when I got the email to say I had been shortlisted – I was beyond shocked! To be honest even to be shortlisted I felt was more than enough recognition for my work whilst on placement; I was happy to get that far!
Going down to London therefore for the awards was a mixture of feelings. However strangely I wasn’t nervous. In my opinion, I was honestly more than happy to even be there at the awards, and genuinely felt that any result whether positive or negative was a great achievement. However when the name of my award was read out, I did start to get nervous as to whether I would win or not, then when they read my name out I was so shocked! I couldn’t believe that it was me who had won Placement Student of the Year!
For me winning Placement Student of the Year has just been a fantastic ending to a great year. I absolutely loved my time with Enterprise – it was hard and challenging but at the same time it has been the best experience for both my professional and personal development. I would recommend a placement year at Enterprise to anyone, if you genuinely want to know what it takes to run a business and what it takes to be successful in the business world there is no better place to learn than with a placement here. Thank you Enterprise for a great year – I look forward to my continued career with you!
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