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Amie Lowton-Smith at CrossCountry Trains

I study Business Entrepreneurship and Management. The Company which I have completed my Placement year at was CrossCountry Trains. CrossCountry is a UK train company which is part of the Arriva group. Throughout the year I have been working as a Roster Placement Student in the Resources department which falls under production. 

There were several reasoning’s as to why I wanted to complete a placement year. Firstly, I felt that gaining a year of experience in Industry would provide me with more hands on experience, and would help develop skills and competency’s which would help me when applying for jobs. Furthermore, I felt that by gaining a placement experience, it would be a good way of finding out more about myself and would help me decide what I would like to do as a career in the future.

My responsibilities were mainly admin based, on a daily basis I noted and sorted annual leave, noted exchange of duty requests and actioned releases and detachments for things such as training, meetings and medicals. I was constantly in contact with, the Recourse Planners, Human Resources, the Train crew’s Managers and the Train crew. My other responsibilities included: filing, answering phone calls and producing reports on uncovered trains. I was additionally trained on the Pay desk as the Pay Manager. This involved looking after all the Drivers, Train Managers, On Board Caterers, Platform Staff, Retail Service Managers and Resource’s wages for the previous day. I had to ensure all were paid correctly and I learned all the different agreements regarding pay and hours. I also carried out investigation work regarding pay queries. When I was the pay manager I would liaise with Payroll, by issuing pay amendments.

Throughout the year, I was given objectives and projects. I was part of the Resource focus group. The focus group aimed to bring the team together and make improvements. The group organises events and celebrations and produce a yearly newsletter. The newsletter gives an overview of the year which includes: red days, celebrations and social events. I have also updated and added new information to the training pack for future placement students and have developed a general introduction pack for all new students. 

My Confidence has greatly increased, along with organisation and coordination skills. This has been developed by constantly talking to all different people throughout the company and through meeting deadlines. Furthermore, my ability to prioritise more effectively has improved with working in busy role.

I feel that my first achievement was actually successfully securing the placement as applying and waiting to hear responses from companies was a stressful process. Whilst on the job, my achievements include; being more confident within my role and department to the point where I have been able to train others in my rob role and also assist others. Additionally, I have been able to critically think of ways in which aspects of the job role and Business could be improved and can also see first-hand different theory for example the Operation process.

Overall, I have had a great experience working at CrossCountry, this year and would recommend other students to take a placement year for the skills and experience you gain.