Working within the Core Technology Team researching and developing different aspects of the fuel cell helping to understand its processes and lifetime via electrochemical, analytical and mechanical techniques.
Work also involves some competitor analysis, analysis of new technologies and work on new technological initiatives. Presentation and communication of results to management and leadership regularly carried out.
My year long placement/internship was very good. It provided the right challenges and problems for me to solve and provided plenty of motivation to get up every morning. It never really felt like a slog. I wouldn't call it the best job ever though because as with every job/project you have things that frustrate you and hold your project back (sometimes it was just little things like finding a ladder or getting a plug socket). However working with team members and other teams would quickly quell the frustrations and the sense of advancing a project along with your team made this job a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Within the team it was always apparent that you were valued by your colleagues both in work and as a person. They were always encouraging, communicative provided both praise and advice when required. The latter half with PD @GE has made it even more clear how much employees value each other with insights a great tool to help make awareness of this. As we work in teams on many different projects this was also apparent when colleagues gave me the lead on a project.
Support and guidance by management was always spot on when it needed to be. When I required help or a little direction in a project they were always more than willing to help, give some constructive criticism or a pat on the back. However they also encouraged that were possible I should use or follow my own initiative, always communicate effectively so that support and guidance is given in a way which helps me learn and grow within the job and as a person and perhaps provide support to them. The only negative time I had was when my own management were unsure of what project would the company be pursuing and were my resources would need to be allocated. That was a confusing time but I had other projects to complete so that time was well managed. I'd also blame that confusion on the leadership of the business rather then direct/semi-direct management and team members.
Mostly busy, time was managed well for the most part. There were times you would be bored the end of the day or the end of the week (mostly Friday afternoons) but that was often due to getting work done faster than expected. However in those times we often had what we like to call 'Friday Afternoon Projects', which were projects/investigations that we would like to do on a project but wouldn't have enough evidence/interest or time and resources to make it a full blown project/priority. Every week we would then have a meeting where depending how we have managed our time and what our priorities were the workload would be increased or decreased. Failures or impending potential disasters in manufacturing side of the building with presentations due the same week were the only times I was a little too busy but all the team members were a full tilt to solve the problem in the manufacturing section of the business.
Responsibility ultimately depended on the project you were involved in and how much you were willing to take on. So as a lead in a project the responsibility was on me to decide what we need to get results and get started, motivate and work with my team to get those results and understand them and then collate our results and present this to management.
When working in a team without responsibility for the whole project my responsibility was then to ensure the accurate and timely completion of my work and making sure i communicate effectively with team members and management so they could assess results and decide on the next steps. So while the responsibility was low it was important that I did my part as a team member to complete this project.
Having finished my degree it will obviously contribute very little but will contribute a lot as I look for jobs where I can apply those skills but learn more and how to incorporate them. Skills such as leadership, showing initiative, innovation, self motivation, team work, communication, time management and being able to continually learn and apply yourself in an efficient manner which is conducive to the customer (Fastworks) are all invaluable skills which I have learned here. We are all adapting and most adapt fast and learn everyday to keep moving and keep ahead of the game.
The atmosphere in the office is pretty good. Everyone is pretty chatty, easy to get to know understand and yes have some fun with them in a professional and external environment. Even when people were having a bad day there was always someone who would have a chat with them or make light of the situation. It's pretty much a 'could be worse' attitude but in a good way which motivates each other to solve the problem and asses what we have learned.
Very well organised only hiccup being that my employee number wasn't registered and thus my laptop wasn't ready. Other then that there was always a plan where my resources and experience could be useful. The intern-mentor programme was a brilliant set-up, getting us involved in the volunteering aspect and organizing events for the site and charity were well organised and fun. Report outs on what we have done and our contribution to the business at the end of the placement helps us and the management focus on what is required and organizing the projects.
Training on things like safety and company policy was of high importance and by that they invested a lot. Personal training was often learned through the different projects were investment would not be obvious or immediate but added up. Leadership would spend some of their time speaking about the processes and Six sigma. The company provided a lot of resources online such as a university page, processes such as six sigma and fastworks.
Speaking with management it seems good, with perhaps a contractors position available. They seem happy with my work, enjoy my work ethic and my mannerisms and like that I'm always willing to learn, listen and work with many different people of all personalities.
The social scene was grand with a city not too far away, plenty of pubs for a quiet drink or cocktails, clubs if crazy dancing is your thing, plenty of festivals of music food and fun. Some people went socializing nearly every week others took it handy and went out when company socials like quizzes and pool nights were organised. There was loads of places to watch sport, never too far away from major football and rugby stadiums.
One or two weekends may be quiet with people visiting home but as long as you also make friends outside work you were pretty much sorted for stuff to do. And if you had a car, things like hiking up mountains, giants causeway and beeches were awesome craic.
Lived around the student area so it wasn't bad especially sharing with 4/5 people. Rent was £200 per month. Utilities were in and around £50 but our business/marketing guy was very savvy with that stuff and dealing with utility companies so was on the cheap side. Transportation to work was around £80 on bus or train and by car probably £50 obviously cheaper if you car share.
Grand as far as I can tell. I'm not a big nightlife person being a person who would sometimes go to get ready - find it too much hassle and just curl up on the couch watching disney movies for the night instead.
The area were I work exactly isn't great but if you live in or near Belfast there's always some club open on nearly every day of the week (thank the students not recommending if you've a busy day at work, working heavy machinery, have an important meeting and most importantly if driving (just don't it's not worth it)).
If there's a major football or rugby match on it's showing in nearly every pub, there's a comedy club at least once a month if not every week, there's nearly always a concert in the SSE arena from andre reiu, mcbusted, dolly parton, little mix, nickelback, rod stewart e.t.c. a wide range. Plenty of comedy there too and more concerts and local bands in pubs across the city and the Ulster Hall.
Always, mostly sports and volunteering, in fact Health Ahead supported most of the sporting things like marathons and tough mudder, cycling and fishing events. Also if you want to join a sports club there are loads, not short on many at all.