After applying to tons of offers, I have finally found my placement through Placement UK, a free online agency based in the UK, that helps European students find undergraduate and graduate internships in the UK. The company I worked for is called GRP Tools and is UK’s leading manufacturer of tools in the GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) industry. It’s a small company counting about 20 employees. The company’s offices are located above the warehouse and factory in an industrial estate in Southampton, Hampshire.
My role as a Sales Assistant was to monitor the sales of the company and I was mainly in charge of our French customers. Knowing I was interested in Finance, my internship supervisor gave me some accounting, budgeting and analysis projects. Also as it was a small company, I did some transversal work: administrative work and marketing projects for example. This was quite interesting as you can see all the aspect of the company. This was my first real experience in the professional world. The part I liked the most was working in a British company with English colleagues. I was able to practice my English every day with my clients and co-workers. Also, since the company is expanding worldwide, I had the chance to correspond with many different nationalities: Czech, Spanish, Italian, Asian... However, I don’t see myself working in such a small company and in such a technical field. I am not really interested in sales and marketing and being able to see it from a more practical way made me realize this is not what I want to specialize in. My advice for future CEFAM students would be: don’t stress over your internship, you will find a placement eventually.
Finding an internship is never easy. However, thanks to the internet and the web platforms specialized in job searches, it has become easier and faster to find one. I found my internship in Tetrad Ltd. Tetrad Ltd is a furniture company based in Preston, Lancashire UK. This company is specialized in furniture production and delivers its collections across the world for renowned companies such as John Lewis, Roche-Bobois and others. During my internship I was in charge of assisting the Export and Sales department as well as the Marketing department. I mostly dealt with customers’ requests and questions. In the marketing department my objectives were to promote the company’s products mostly for the factory outlet, find new strategies to improve the number of followers, and increase the company’s sales.
The environment in the head office was pretty good. People were very kind and willing to help you if you were in trouble. Living in the UK by yourself for a 3-month period can be quite difficult at times as you have to deal with cultural differences. Nevertheless, I learned a lot about the professional environment, as to what behaviour to adopt at the office for example, and I also learned a lot about myself. I advise future interns to start looking for an internship as soon as possible because time is not an unlimited resource. It is important to anticipate as it can take a while to get a visa or a company’s contract. But, this is an experience that will most likely teach you a lot about yourself.