A reflection on my placement within the COVID-19 Automotive Industry by Issy

Issy wearing her work uniform and lanyard

My placement year has been my first experience not only within the automotive industry but also the corporate world. I have worked in a COVID-19 safe office as well as from home, therefore experiencing the buzz of the office culture but also the challenges of working from home.

Working in Human Resources

Working within BMW Group as the HRM intern has offered me extensive experience. My role in Human Resources includes managing absence, arrange disciplines and actioning promotions. However, I have also had exposure to working on the production line, creating campaigns, and getting involved in charity events.

Things I found challenging on placement

There have been some challenges for this year. Adapting to partly working from home was something that I did not prepare for. The ease of talking to someone in the office was no longer there. However, we managed to adapt to this as a team by calling each other or messaging on Skype.

Working from home means that the systems are really slow too, so my patience definitely improved! Another challenge I came across was the increasing workload. I felt privileged that my team trusted me enough to give me new projects, but it meant that I had to change the way I worked.

I developed my organisation and time management skills which allowed me to take on the extra work whilst still being able to complete my daily and weekly tasks.

My stand-out moments

Through all the challenges there were major highs and real stand out moments. I got the experience to build some MINIs which is something I never thought I’d do. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it expanded my organisational awareness by talking to the associates that do this daily.

Issy building a mini

One my roles is helping with the absence management and due to the pandemic as you can imagine, absence was affected. Without the pandemic, I wouldn’t have got to see how much absence can vary and the mechanisms that businesses can enforce to manage it. Although it’s a strange highlight of my placement, It’s one that has helped me understand my role and the organisation better.

Coming back to university for my final year

There is no doubt that my placement year will help me when I go back to university. For example, coming from a confident person, I thought my confidence couldn’t grow much more, but I was wrong! My confidence has grown massively throughout my placement year and this is something that I will definitely be utilising at university.

I’ll feel more at ease about asking questions or approaching lecturers to try and understand the content or assignments further. Additionally, the routine of a job is something that I will carry through with me allowing me to treat university like it’s a job. Hopefully this way I can have some time at the weekends free!

My year at BMW Group is nothing like I had expected, but I have certainly made the most of it and enjoyed every challenge and opportunity that has come my way.