The blog below is an update from Naomi Smith who is currently on an industrial placement with PSA Peugeot Citroën. Naomi worked in the Careers & Add+vantage Service as a Student Employability Coach and she sends regular progress reports to the Head of Careers & Add+vantage (Lucy) to let her know how she is getting on with her placement. Look out for the next update report in the New Year.
I hope everything is good. I apologise for the delay in getting this to you, it’s an extremely busy time for us at work due to the annual employee survey currently taking place at the moment. Alright here we go…
P.S. The Group = The Business
So I’ve already gone past the 5 month milestone of my placement and being in my department, which in itself feels very surreal. I say surreal because the weeks are literally flying by, I can’t believe it’s Xmas next month!
Since emailing you the last time I’ve been up to a lot. On top of my usual day to day responsibilities I’ve been:
- Assisting with the legwork of the preparation and execution of the annual employee survey which is currently taking place. This has been extremely challenging in some aspects as I had no prior knowledge of the survey, but it has shown me how much the Group does value employees engaging with this survey for the purpose of continuous improvement. After the survey results are in, I may be assisting with the extensive analysis of the results from this year compared to last years survey.
- Given the responsibility of doing what we call the ‘Business Brief’. This is a monthly 24 page presentation style report into what the Group has been up to on an international scale e.g. How the individual brands did at the Paris Motor show for example to collating information on how the UK branch of the Group has done with sales against competitors. Initially when I was given this responsibility it was daunting because it’s a lot of information to collate, compile and proof within a short time frame and the approval process involves a few people to ensure everything is correct, but at the same time it was a challenge that I wanted to succeed at and so far it has gone well with good feedback, I feel I am improving at it month on month.
- Putting more of my ideas forward on how to improve particular processes within the department and being more vocal where appropriate, I think this has come around through being more comfortable compared to when I first started, but it is definitely something for the good all round.
On reflection of my experience to date, I’ve learnt so much.. especially coming from a generalist Business background. I also note the gradual changes in me such as how I go about tasks and realising that making a mistake isn’t as bad as it initially seemed. There have been a few moments where things haven’t gone to plan, but it’s all part of the learning experience.
In late January I will be moving department for my second rotation within the Group, which I am really looking forward to because I will get to learn about another aspect of HR alongside getting to work on some new projects.
Aside from day to day work I’ve been involved in quite a bit including:
- Being involved in volunteering last month, where I helped to assist the Heart of England Community Foundation whilst they held their annual celebration event at our Headquarters. I really enjoyed this opportunity because I got to meet a lot of influential people including the Mayor of Leamington Spa along with some business leaders from around Coventry. It was a great to see the difference that the Foundation had made to peoples’ lives.
From volunteering in this event, I have stayed in touch with the Foundation Director who has spoken to me about the prospect of being involved in some upcoming high profile events, which I am eager about. It also just goes to show a lot about the power of networking.
- Representing the Group travelling to two universities with the Training & Resourcing Manager (Northampton and Coventry) to give my perspective to potential applicants on how I think the placement scheme has been which was nice and different.
- Attending more ‘Ride & Drive’ events where you get to learn about cars that are just about to release and test drive them before they release. I got to go in the new Citroën C1, Peugeot 108 and the Citroën C4 Cactus (as you may know, I don’t drive but I always go along to these events for the knowledge and to go and experience what the car is like on a non driving basis).
Outside of work, I’ve been really busy with projects inside and outside of University and I am currently starting to look into ways that I can maximise my HR experience before I return to University in September 2015.
BA Business Management
Industrial Placement with PSA Peugeot Citroën
Thank you for taking the time to update me on your progress. It certainly sounds like you are a busy lady and like time is flying by; I can identify with that too!
It is really great to see how well you have embraced the opportunities to make a positive impact and contribution to this new environment. I am really impressed with the range and depth of work you are completing in your placement; it is obvious that you have built a good reputation within the Group (what an excellent ambassador you are for the University). As you say, project work can sometimes seem a bit daunting at first but it can do wonders for your professional development and of course your CV. I am so pleased that you have been able to identify the positive effect the placement is having on your personal development. Your personal reflection and self-actualisation ‘skills’ will be through the roof by the time you return to university! As you are finding out, making mistakes is a good learning curve and we all make them. As long as you can reflect and learn from them, this is the important point.
I see that you are still managing to get involved in lots of extra-curricular activities which you have always done. Yes, the power of networking can really pay dividends.
The Ride & Drive event sounds like fun. I wonder if this is enticing you to learn to drive?!
Thank you again for the update and we look forward to finding out how your second rotation goes (I am sure you will continue to take all new challenges in your stride.)
Lucy Wilson Whitford
Head of Careers, Add+vantage & Employment