Unit Engineer at GE (General Electric)

Placement Year (10 Months+)
Bristol South West
Review Date
£16,000 - £17,999


The Role



The Role

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

Overall, I enjoyed this placement and, if I could go back 18 months to the day I signed the contract, I would make the same decision.
However I do not intend to apply for a job here in the future, because of the following reasons:
- I dislike lower and regional management of the organisation; the leaders appear to be clueless of the practical implications of their decisions, spitting out jargon and "buzzwords" and promising to improve things but failing to cause any real positive change.
- The particular site where I was based has a very slow pace and careless attitude to the business
- I learned that, at least at this early stage in my career, I want to work for a different type of company. The big multinational conglomerate just isn't my thing


2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

There is a very positive sense of camaraderie within the department and, when asking for help and assistance, my colleagues have been quick to provide help and support.
At times however my position as an intern meant that in discussions my opinion is less valued, or not asked for at all. I feel like I could have been given more credit for my abilities. At times I felt challenged, but most of the time I was given minor tasks with little to no responsibility and "task ownership"


3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

As my first experience working in an office environment, adapting to the new job took some time. I had fantastic support by my colleagues and coworkers, who were always willing to interrupt their work to answer my many questions; management however (both my HR and Technical supervisors) provided little to no support in any aspect. My technical manager was hard to get a hold of (partly because he's just too busy and can't spare any time); my line manager would often reply 'yes' to any request but if further action was required on their part they would fail to ever "get round to it".
This is partly due to their personality and character (i.e I was just unlucky), but partly due to the lack of definition of roles and responsibilities for these people in my respect.
I don't feel like I was considered part of the "team" by my manager, and they gave the impression that I was a burden/annoyance to them.


4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

The first month or so was rather quiet. There didn't seem to be a plan for what work to assign to me or some of the other interns. My work supervisor later on confessed to me that he was only told about myself being his responsibility days before my starting date.
However given the nature of the site it is very easy to find work to do. Lots of documentation needs writing: just ask and you'll get something; this got exponentially easier to do as I became more experienced.


5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

I got the impression my manager didn't really trust me with too much. This is understandable (given the current climate within this industry, where wasting resource just isn't an option). However I saw experienced engineers make mistakes that cost the company money and I don't believe I would do any worse.
I'm quite ambitious and felt undervalued in this year. More responsibility would have made me a lot more motivated to work hard, and more willing to return to the company after graduation.


6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

Can't really answer this one yet as I am yet to return to University ; however I expect it will be invaluable to me as I've been able to understand the practical aspects to many of the theoretical knowledge I gained on my course.
I've also developed my time management skills and work ethic.


The Organisation

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

Positive, friendly atmosphere.
Morale sometimes not great given the industry not being great at the moment. People often fear for their jobs.


8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

It didn't seem like many preparations had been made for our arrival. No work had been lined up and it took some time to request and gain access to the systems that we needed to use for our work.
The IT equipment was all set up however and our line manager had planned an "induction" week for us.


9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

The training budget was effectively null throughout most of my placement. This however is a reflection on the industry rather than lack of commitment by the company.
GE has an online "university" with a large collection of training material (soft skills mostly). These are useful but no better than something available on free sites like Coursera or EDX.
They used to run "awareness" courses that allowed employees to share their technical knowledge of a specific family of products with employees from different departments/areas. These sessions have since been discontinued


10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Flexi Time
  • Subsidised Canteen
  • Above 25 days holiday
  • Working from home
  • Healthcare from home
  • Healthcare/Dental

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

I'll consider it later on in my career but for now this year has left a sour taste in my mouth. GE is a great company to work for and I am likely to look at options at a different site in the future. Don't see myself coming back to this site.
My experience here is sure to help me if I do decide to work for GE.



12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

There weren't that many of us and we lived quite far apart so not the most amazing social life. We got along however and went out for lunch or drinks after work a few times. I've made good friends that I will definitely keep in contact with after this year.


13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

Bristol is quite average when it comes to cost of life. I had shared accommodation in a relatively cheap area so ended up spending £350 a month for rent, which is very reasonable.
There are lots of options for entertainment so you can always have a good night on the cheap. Free festivals are organised many weekends in the summer. It's just a nice city to be in, so there is no need to spend a fortune to get into a fancy club or venue.


14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

Great nightlife! Lots of interesting venues, nice pubs on King Street, some interesting clubs (Thekla, Marble Factory, Motion). In the past I've travelled to Bristol for concerts so actually living here was great.
And in the summer you can just chill harbourside with a bottle of wine (or many) and have a great time for next to nothing.
Also easy to get to London.


15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

Yes, the charity committee is very active and organise many sports events (football, cycling, running etc).