Industrial Placements more than just tea rounds: real responsibility


We know that there can be a big misconception that Industrial Placement students just sit around, making tea and running other business errands. Our Industrial Placement scheme breaks these stereotypes and offers you invaluable experience into the working world. We know there's nothing better than the first-hand experience you get by being given a real chance to learn and make an impact whilst working and earning. 

We asked 2 of our Industrial Placement students how they've got on so far. We picked their brains on the responsibility they have, work-life balance and how their industrial placement is going. Stand by for some invaluable insight!

Sam is studying Economics at university and is working in the Treasury Department, while Carly is studying Geography at university and is taking her placement in Citizenship.

Tell us about your role and what it entails?

Carly: I'm the Environmental Sustainability Intern and I work within the Citizenship department in Corporate Affairs. The main aim of our team is to help Nationwide achieve its internal and external environmental targets.

I have a lot of responsibility; my biggest project right now is being the leader of the Green Champion network (which has just under 300 employees!). The work on the Green Champions Network pretty much falls down to me and it’s my role to take ownership of the network. I also own the research I do for a government funded research project that we’re currently looking into.

My other responsibilities include:

• Supporting and leading internal green events
• Being a point of contact for green issues and queries in the business
• Helping to shape the external perception of Nationwide and the green agenda

The most exciting thing I’ve done so far in my role is going to London for a launch event of a project I'm a part of.

“ Because of my lack of experience, I didn't expect to be given so much responsibility. I was surprised that I was able to take ownership of my work. ”

Sam: I work in Treasury, for the Data Governance team and I’ve been given responsibility for co-ordinating some project work. I’ve also created and maintained a team SharePoint site which has been a smaller project that I worked on.

Treasury is a very unique department in that the work is critical to ensuring that Nationwide is financially stable. There’s so much to learn and as a result of this, I’m continually learning every day.

I’m surprised as to how much responsibility I’ve been given, as the work I am doing directly contributes into a group wide transformation project which is quite exciting.

Nationwide is a fantastic company to work for as there are so many opportunities and they are flexible to accommodate what you want to achieve.

Do you still get time for a personal life?

Carly: expected Nationwide to be rather formal and constricting. However, I discovered that while they are a formal company, they like to have more fun than I anticipated.
Outside of work, I have a lot of relaxation time, where I usually meet up with friends, or visit my long distance boyfriend. I’m not one for many hobbies but I do have time to take up a hobby up if I so choose.

Sam: So far I’ve still been able to have that balance. Outside of work, I’ve been able to travel during weekends to go watch football and visit friends. Alongside the graduate cohort for this year, we’ve been able to socialise together and we play football together weekly after work.

“ I expected Nationwide to be very intense and have little time to do anything extra, but the company culture is very accommodating to being able to achieve personal goals outside of work. ”

What would you tell someone if they were unsure about doing a placement year?

Carly: Since starting my placement I’ve learnt how to project manage professional relationships and claim ownership of my work. When I go back to university next year, I think I’ll be far more motivated to start work earlier as I’m used to the longer days.

I’d encourage anyone to take a placement year as you take a lot away from the year and getting a proper salary every month feels amazing! The biggest thing I’ve paid for with my earnings so far is my new phone, but I also had a lot of money to spend on Christmas presents for my family.

“ If you’re feeling worried about applying here; don’t be! I'm studying Physical Geography at Aberystwyth University and I was so surprised that even in my role I didn't need any finance background to work at Nationwide. ”

Sam: I’d definitely encourage any student to take on a placement year. I’ve learnt a lot more about the industry and what work goes on in a firm the size of Nationwide, which you only appreciate once working here and unable to really see from outside.

I’ve also become a lot more confident in myself through the work I do. I believe that the best way to learn is through working in the industry.

With the application process, I’d advice that you practice the initial tests as they are hardest part, once you have got to an interview stage, just be yourself and be confident, the interviewers want you to succeed.

The PRIDE values are a key part to Nationwide and really visible in the work place, so it’s important to display these in your own way.

“ I've saved quite abit of money during this year for when I return to university, I’ve found that earning your own money is really rewarding. ”

Going back to university I’ll be a lot more organised and focused on getting my assignments done, having had to work to tight deadlines in the office. Secondly, I’ll be a lot more confident as this year has pushed me and I have grown in confidence as a result.

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Are you looking for an Industrial Placement ? Have a look at our vacancies here.

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