Chloe Wittering is currently studying International Business at Sheffield Hallam University. She joined our Work Placement Programme in 2016. This is what she has to say about her experiences working for DHL:
Why did you decide to do a work placement?
I wanted to enhance my employability skills and see if I could gain a better understanding of what I want to do after university. A work placement allows you to gain experience at work whilst also developing professional skills.
Why did you choose DHL?
DHL is an international company with a vast amount of opportunities. I chose DHL as I knew I would be able to gain an insight into different areas of the business to help me decide what I want to do in my future career. They have a good reputation for their schemes for both graduates and placement students as they provide off the job training modules whilst you’re on the scheme to help with your development.
What responsibilities have you had on the work placement?
I started out my placement as a Shift Operations Manager on the British Airways contract for their short haul catering. I was responsible for making sure the shift ran smoothly and solving any issues to ensure we engaged with the aircrafts on time and not cause a delay. Other responsibilities included managing the Team Leaders roster as well as coaching two Team Leaders. I also got to perform HR functions such as disciplinary hearings and investigations.
I then moved to Business Development for my last 4 months of placement. Here I got to see a more commercial side of the business and have been managing potential opportunities in Passenger Gateway. I have been involved in consultancy reports as well as responding to potential customers with what DHL has to offer.
What has been your favourite experience whilst being on the work placement?
My favourite experience whilst on placement was getting to go on an airside tour at Heathrow. We went around terminal 5 to see DHL cater an aircraft. We then got to go onto a B747 and an A380. When we went to the B747 an engineer was there who talked us through the different buttons in the cockpit which was cool! Getting to see how things were run airside was an amazing experience.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge would be when I first started in the Warehouse. It was a completely new environment and was a tough first couple of weeks getting used to how things worked and what I needed to do. Although daunting at the start, after about a month or so I became more confident in what I was doing. Reflecting on my year, I have developed so much!
What have you found to be your biggest development opportunity?
The biggest development opportunity for me was managing a shift on my own. You are given a lot of trust and are relied on to make sure the operation is running smoothly. Although there are operations managers, you handle most issues alone and have to make decisions by yourself which helps you grow in confidence.
Would you recommend DHL's work placement programme to others?
I would recommend DHL’s work placement programme as you learn a lot about yourself whilst on the scheme. You face a lot challenges which at the start seem completely beyond you, but on reflection you realise you have the capability to overcome them. I developed a good relationship with the other IP students around me as well, which helped motivate me to do well. I got really good support from my managers and got the opportunity to develop a range of skills from HR, Team work, Interpersonal, communication and problem solving.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying to our work placement programme?
My advice for someone thinking of applying to this programme would be to make sure you’re optimistic about what you want to do. There are a diverse amount of opportunities available for you on this placement, some of which will push you out of your comfort zone… but that’s what makes you learn and develop new/existing skills!