1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I learned a lot; in a much more hands on way than at uni.
There are lots of different placement students (around 45) and they are all working in many different roles, so we have a good social life, and support amongst us. Most of the students live together and so can commute together too.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
At first there was a definite steep learning curve, at which point I needed a lot of help with the jobs I had to do, but my colleagues were more than willing to provide this support.
But as time progressed I have begun to feel quite valued in the department, not only as my presence is now a help and not a hindrance, but I can provide some new knowledge and a different perspective.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The support has been great. I am able to ask for help whenever I want, or attempt jobs on my own. My supervisor is also very happy for me to be gaining experience outside of the department if I want it.
A lot of the support I receive is clearly meant to further my knowledge overall, not just for the jobs I carry out.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I am fairly busy most days. The workload for everyone in the lab varies from month to month, but on slow days I am able to go back and explore the science and theory behind work I was doing in previous days that were busier. I am also given time to do work for university where required.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As time goes on during my placement the amount of responsibility I have with the jobs I carry out increases, up to the point of dealing directly with external customers. However, I always feel I can go to my colleagues for support and backing up if I feel it is necessary.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I personally believe doing a placement year is invaluable in terms of experience. I have not only gained a tonne of technical experience, but my confidence and ability to talk to people I don’t necessarily know, in a work place environment has also increased. I feel that this and my improved self-discipline will serve me well in my last year of university, and grad jobs after that.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in my office is good. It’s fairly relaxed and friendly, and there is a lot of sharing of knowledge between everyone. Everyone is up for a laugh, but when a difficult job comes in everyone is able to focus and settle down to produce a high level of work.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
My placement was very well organised. As Cummins is a global corporation, taking on many placement students every year, they are well organised and everyone involved is very approachable.
Within my department (after training was given) I am given jobs in the same way as all of the other workers, but with more support provided.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
In all honesty, the company is having to go through a few redundancies and cut backs at the moment, so graduate prospects are not very appealing, where they are present at all.
However, this lull in work has happened in the past, and the company has bounced back and flourished once again.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The social scene amongst the students is largely good. As there are so many of us, most people have rented houses together for the year. However, this year many students have decided to stay in different locations, meaning that there are smaller, separate friendship groups. A lot of those groups are quite strong though, and will probably keep contact after the year is over.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Whilst the placement itself is in Daventry ( quite a small and quiet town) myself and some other students are living in Northampton. This is a relatively cheap place to live (compared to cities) and there is a university there, meaning there are cheap student nights with people of a similar age and with similar interests. There are also cheap gyms etc.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Cummins has several sports teams and a social club that puts on day trips to places like Alton towers and London. These seem quite good to me, but to be honest I don’t know of any placement students that have been on any. Amongst ourselves the students have gone to see films and have nights out together.