Full name: Mathew Gifford
Year of graduation: 2015
Business departments worked in: Academy and network development
Length of placement: One year
Toyota Blog: Hi Mathew, tell us a bit about your role within Toyota
Matthew Gifford: My department provides training to our dealer network. There is a set of core training that is mandatory for all job roles, and we additionally offer advanced skills training and management training that networks can choose to take up.
My role is focused mainly on the management training programme, although I do work across all courses when needed.
A large part of my role is to provide reports to management on key information and key performance indicators (KPIs). This is then used to review and amend our training courses.
I am currently working on reviewing the management training course with our training providers; I am responsible for making sure that we can deliver the “behind the scenes” processes that make it a positive experience for our trainees and trainers.
It’s a great role with a lot of operational involvement and project work.
TB: What projects have you worked on and particularly enjoyed?
MG: Throughout my placement, I’ve been working on a project to improve and standardise the customer and brand experience in all of our range of academy venues. I’m really passionate about this project, partly because I’ve been doing it since I joined, and partly because it makes a real difference to our delegates’ experience of Toyota.
TB: What have you learnt during your time at Toyota?
MG: Toyota has a set of standards called the ‘Toyota Way’ which I have found really valuable. As part of that learning, I’ve also learned not to make assumptions, but to get to the root of a problem and make sure I’ve understood it properly.
TB: How do you think you have changed during your time at Toyota?
MG: My confidence and motivation have increased greatly. I’ve never been in a full-time role before so I wasn’t sure what to do, and was worried about what happens when I make a mistake. Toyota is genuinely a no-blame culture, so when I made a mistake, I was helped and supported to fix it, which also gave me the chance to learn as well.
You really are treated like a human being rather than just a student. I would be happy to stay here.
TB: What has surprised you most about your placement?
MG: The fact that you are given real funds to work with. The role isn’t just made-up in order to teach you something; it’s real work that Toyota needs doing. You really make a difference.
TB: Would you do your placement again?
MG: Definitely. I’d be happy choosing my role or any other role in Toyota to go to if I was starting again.
TB: What would you say to someone who may be considering a placement with Toyota?
MG: Having Toyota on your CV is useful for the future. Other companies know about Toyota’s great business practices and Toyota is great at developing people.
I do recommend living nearby if you can so that you don’t miss out on the social life!