1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The work wasn't exactly thrilling, but there were interesting problems to work around, and the people here were very welcoming and friendly for the most part.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My immediate team made me feel very welcome, however due to the Cheltenham site previously being a 'Smiths Aerospace' a lot of the employees are older, and have a lot of unjust negativity and bias against younger employees, often acting discriminatory or disrespectfully towards us. I feel were it not for the other interns it would've been a lot worse socially.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager wasn't very involved due to his busy schedule, however we had a superior who acted in the manager's place with us for a lot of the time, and was very supportive working through problems and challenges.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
We were kept busy with a variety of tasks on different projects, a few other managers saw us as free work and tried to give us very repetitive boring tasks but thankfully that was the minority.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
We were trusted implicitly by our managers to organize and manage our own time throughout the year, this was a good learning experience and allowed us to develop important skills. It also made us feel respected which I feel is important.
I was often in charge of prototyping tools entirely from scratch, and for one project I was in charge of fixing an important error in a very expensive project. My solution is still in effect now.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My degree is in Computer Games Programming, and so whilst not directly applicable, the knowledge and maturity gained through the placement has allowed me to become a much better software engineer, and has given me the confidence and determination to pursue other skills outside of work.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was good with the other interns and my immediate team, however, much of the rest of the office is quite discriminatory and condescending towards the younger interns, they do not treat us with the respect we deserve and we often feel judged doing things well within our rights to do, such as being on our phones during our lunch break. My colleague has had older workers say very sexist and insulting things to her out of the blue on multiple occasions.
As mentioned previously, the other interns and their teams/our teams were very friendly and we often went for drinks and social events with their managers.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement didn't start off well with a lack of desks being a major issue at the site, it took us a few months to get a permanent station. However after that there weren't many issues, there were some events when it came to holidays or tax codes that could have been handled by the internal HR/Finance teams a lot better but that's a small complaint.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Very little, I was given not much formal training, when we started we were asked to give a list of skills we'd like to develop, and whilst at the time it was said we'd be tried to put on projects that could facilitate those skills not much came of it.
Most of the development came from personal evaluation and experiencing the project life-cycle firsthand.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Not very appealing to me due to it being outside my intended industry, but there are a lot of opportunities and the benefits of the job do make it appealing.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The other interns were all very sociable and made the year a lot more manageable.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Whilst Cheltenham is an expensive place, there are a number of student properties meaning living is doable, however drinks and food are highly priced due to it's proximity to London
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The local nightlife was ok, but nothing amazing. The local pubs are great though.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were a lot of opportunities to volunteer, Cheltenham is a hub of festivals and events.