Part of the reason for deciding to do a placement was to enhance my employability by gaining some on-the-job experience. I also wanted to develop some transferable skills that I could apply in the final year of my degree, and that I could take back into the work environment once I finished my course.
I found out about Enterprise Rent-A-Car through a placement fair at the university and then I researched more information online. I applied because it was a business opportunity that would allow me to work in – and develop business skills from – different departments such as marketing, sales and customer service. Furthermore the idea of progressing up the career ladder to ultimately run my own business really grabbed me as there were clearly opportunities for rapid development into management.
As a placement student, I expected to be treated differently to other members of staff, even those who were on the graduate placement. However, I was pleasantly surprised by being given exactly the same opportunities with regards to training and responsibilities.
My first impressions were that there was a lot to learn. But what stood out was how much everyone was willing to help and answer questions, even if it was the same one over and over again. I also thought that the level of customer interaction was great.
On a day-to-day basis the role generally comprised of customer service and sales. It was a forward-facing role with a lot of customer interaction, both face-to-face and via the phone. From the first to the last point of contact the job is to make sure the client is completely satisfied with the customer service they have received from us.
I also dealt with business accounts. Each employee is allocated their own accounts which they regularly interact with and develop in order to maximise income. It was also part of the role to generate leads which can develop into new accounts for the business.
Training was a big part of the placement – it ensures you stay on track with your own development and is invaluable to new starters. Throughout my placement I undertook three stages of the management training programme, which is what you take on regardless of whether you are an intern, placement student or join the company as a fully-fledged management trainee.
When I completed my placement I was on the final stage before the final interview to complete the programme. I completed that when I came back, which means I qualify to apply for branch assistant manager roles. The stages of training are outlined clearly, but it is an employee’s responsibility to take control of their own development. As promotion is internal, everyone surrounding you has also undertaken the training programme and are therefore always willing to help.
I’d always recommend a placement year to anyone who gets the opportunity. It exceeded my expectations with regards to the responsibility I was given and the opportunities I had. Furthermore, the chance to return to the graduate programme after completing my degree was something I had really hoped for.
I also felt that having undertaken a placement year I now have an insight into what to expect after university. It also provided me with experiences to refer to throughout my final year as well as a topic for primary research for my dissertation.
Finally, when undertaking a placement I would encourage people to do their research thoroughly, as there is a wide variety of opportunities available to students. Also, use it as an opportunity to learn about what is required when on a graduate scheme and learn as much as you can. This can then be applied in your final year of university. Work hard and in turn you should be successful! Want to know more about Enterprise’s placement and internship opportunities? We have branches across the UK so chances are that there is something that suits you.