Your placement year is like test driving a new car – sampling something that could impact your life later on whilst still being able to make a decision as to whether or not it’s for you! Find out what guest blogger Marija Liuzinaite got up to on her placement…

Hundreds of placement students will be settling in to their new jobs right about now and is an exciting time for some and nerve wracking for others, but hey, it’s a year away from studying!


So, how am I getting on?

First of all, be prepared to meet a lot of new people regardless of what your role is going to be. There will be many new faces and names to remember, but don’t worry if you can’t remember all of them on your first day! You will be working with these people for the next 6 or 12 months, so it is wise to put some effort into introducing yourself and creating a network.

In any business, relationship building will always pay off. From interviewing the current managers and directors at my workplace in my first week, the key message I had received is to build relationships. 

 I got to drive this beast on a team building day at Volvo! 

At the end of the day, it is not just your qualities and skills that gets you far but also how others perceive you as a professional. So take the initiative to socialise and build relationships when the time is right.

Also, try to be observant and take in as much as you can. Your career building starts by taking small steps consistently every day by learning something new and getting out of your comfort zone. Do not expect to enjoy the year if you are not willing to challenge yourself.

The first few weeks

I got to hiking in Norway for a few days during my placement year. The scenery is just beautiful! 

Personally, my first two weeks centred mainly around induction and training, but now I have kickstarted with my workload, I am learning and getting the experience I want. Visiting different teams and departments, learning about the product and visiting the dealerships whilst building relationships with the current interns is something that will stand me in good stead for the rest of my time here. In certain placements, especially in smaller companies you may sometimes be the only intern which may seem a bit daunting but this means you are surrounded by experts and your standards of self-development may be higher than of those surrounded by other interns, 

The induction programs may vary from place to place, it might be 2 weeks, a week or even a couple of days before jumping into the world of work. Therefore, take the opportunity to observe and make notes. Always carry a notepad with you in your first week since you never know what kind of handy information might be delivered.

Also, ask questions. Your first week is your time to gather your thoughts together and settle down by getting little questions out the way. Therefore, don’t be scared to ask questions because most often there will be 3 or 4 other people wanting the same question answered but not willing to ask. 

Therefore, the first week is a good time to get to know people, learn about your place of work and get your questions answered.

P.S. Don’t forget to dress smart and look sharp, first impressions count!