As soon as I saw the advertisement for the Eurostar Graduate Programme on Target Jobs, I jumped at the chance to apply. It was the only Grad Programme I applied to, as I was planning a gap year, but I saw this programme and didn't want to pass on the opportunity. So, I thought I’d give it a go and apply and as my Mum said ‘it sounds right up your street’. I was still unsure before I went to the assessment day, but after hearing more about it and meeting everyone, I realised I really wanted to do it and my gap year would have to wait!
I did a year abroad in France and often took the Eurostar train, so I already loved the company's product. I also love that it's an international company, that the locations of the placement are in great cities (Paris and London are obviously great but don’t be scared by Lille, it’s a lovely quaint city with lots of students), and that the France/England element suited me well. But the main reason I applied is the programme’s variety. I don't know what I want to do for a career, but this programme is giving me so many opportunities to be exposed to really varied parts of the business and to learn a lot. Four locations, four placements and four different departments will expand my business knowledge and skill set a huge amount.
My first placement has started in Lille and I'm working in the train control room. If there are any problems or delays with the trains, the decisions about what to do are made here and communicated to everyone across the business, including the customers affected. This is also where train schedules are planned and edited on a daily basis. I've only been here for a few weeks, but my main project is to try and improve the processes taken when an incident occurs and make them more efficient.
What I've enjoyed so far is that everyone is extremely welcoming and friendly- from the people who recruited me, to a French Train Driver who laughs about the amount of tea I drink. I've been given a lot of opportunities to learn more about the operational part of the company, including station tours, shadowing train managers, and visiting the engineering train depot. Everyone is willing to help and make sure I understand as much about the business as possible. Train Drivers and Train Managers share our office space and kitchen, so not only am I in contact with the people making the big decisions, I also get to communicate with the people directly involved in the day to day train operations. Before this, I had a general interest in travel, but never a huge interest in trains. But understanding how an international travel company operates is very interesting and I’ve come to learn that understanding the company's ‘foundations’ is hugely valuable. I know I'll use what I've learnt in my future placements and career, even if that won't be something operational.…and this is only my first placement!
After only a few weeks, I’m already enjoying the challenge. I would recommend applying, not only for the good travel benefits!