I enjoyed the internship very much. I have learnt more about the technology industry and a career in engineering; about how a project team operates, its roles and responsibilities, and hierarchy within a company. The working environment was friendly and welcoming but focussed and efficient too. I worked both at my desk and in the lab, and was given real tasks to contribute to the project.
My colleagues seemed to value my work and treated me like a professional. I did not feel like an intern, but just a new starter on the project. Often I came across issues which I don’t have the experience to know how to deal with – instead of leaving it to someone else, I tried to meet with a team member to learn what the procedure is to approach the problem. It was great that team members, knowing I had limited experience, would explain things in terms of the bigger picture: I learn not just how to perform tasks but the motivation behind carrying out the task.
Having a mentor was really helpful and I regularly communicated with him both on specific systems tasks and on personal development & objectives. I think having a catch-up every two weeks with my mentor and line manager (who was the team lead as well) was beneficial to focus me and make sure I was staying on track with my objectives; as I progressed I understood the motivation behind the objectives and how they would contribute to the project. I thought they were varied enough and of appropriate difficulty and time scale. Attending the daily team meeting was also a great way to focus my work, and of course to learn about what others were working on. Having a desk close to the team was useful for communicating quickly. I was given guidance not just by my mentor and manager, but by all members of the team.
I was always busy, and took on several tasks to work on so that if I met a ‘blocker’ I could carry on working on something else – for example, waiting for a colleague to review something or answer a question or send over a document. The daily morning meeting helped focus my work, and the others made sure I had enough to do each day and also that I wasn’t overwhelmed with work. If I was unsure about which tasks to prioritise I could always ask, as some things were nearly due to be sent to the customer while others had months before they were needed.
I was given real tasks to work on for the project – for example, documents to update and tests to run in the lab. All documents are checked many times over before being published, and tests have informal and formal runs so whatever work I did would always be checked over first. But the work I put into the project needed to be done so having me there to do it was valuable to the team.
I do physics at university which is less practical and less connected with the industrial world than engineering. However from the many useful skills I gained in this internship, some of them are transferrable – on the technical side I have gained more electronics knowledge, and on the industrial side I have learnt a lot about structuring projects, organizing work and problem solving – all helpful for me in my final year at university. After graduating I want to go into engineering, where what I have learnt here will be even more useful.
My office was very welcoming and friendly, the mood was always relaxed and stress-free, yet employees worked efficiently. Colleagues chat (quietly) to each other about the project informally to resolve small problems quickly, or if an issue arises which must be dealt with more extensively, formally or with a larger group of people, a meeting is called in a nearby meeting room.
I had clear objectives set out for me and managed in an online tool, where I could make comments and add tasks. I met with my mentor every week or every second week, and we would talk about how I am progressing with my objectives, whether I want to look at something different, and what I should take on next. The organization was smooth and it’s clear that the company is good at integrating new employees into the company and onto a project.
I built many personal professional skills such as management, communication and problem solving, and I gained technical skills with various pieces of software which are used in the engineering industry. There were a few compulsory training courses on safety, security and data protection and plenty of teaching about the company as a global corporation. Additionally there are always more opportunities to further personal training here.
I will definitely be applying to the graduate scheme here, and it is valuable to have already done a placement here as I may be fast-tracked through some application stages, and my interviewers will already know me either personally or through colleagues – so they will have a background knowledge about my skills and experience here.
Yes, I got to know the other (16ish) summer interns very well and we often met up after work, as well as for lunch and coffee breaks during the working day. While doing this internship I stayed in student accommodation with three of the other summer interns, so it was nice to spend time with them in the evening too. Meeting students from many different universities pursuing the same career path is really fun and interesting.
I paid about £100 per week in rent, and shopped for groceries quite cheaply at Tesco. There aren’t many nice restaurants around but I often went to Dartford to eat out. I drove to work every day which took 10-20 minutes and was very convenient. Train links to London are very good, about £9 and 40 minutes to get into central London.
I met up socially with other interns regularly but we mostly stayed in rather than going out, since the nightlife wasn’t very good in the area. There are a couple of pubs and a cocktail bar which we enjoyed.
There was a regular sport session on every evening of the week including badminton, football, basketball and cardio&conditioning classes. The interns organized playing crazy golf and there are local gyms, tennis courts, sailing clubs and rugby clubs available too.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Placement Year (10 Months+)