1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I'm sure under different circumstances a placement year at Cummins Power Generation would have been great; however any company in a diesel-fuelled industry is going to suffer, and especially Cummins. Redundancies and restructuring meant the mood was rock-bottom for months on end. However, the people are awesome and care about each other, my manager especially worked really hard to pick up the morale of everyone on site. The job was a good learning experience, a little dry at times, but the people, and my manager especially, really made the year worth it.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I was very shocked by how much a close knit bunch the employees here are. Even the people who had no direct responsibility for me still seemed to really care about my development. Times were financially difficult and numerous people were losing their jobs, but above all else the people still cared about one another.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I cannot stress enough how good my manager and direct superiors were. They offered me a lot of guidance and support throughout the year. Speaking to a lot of my friends they unfortunately didn’t have the same experience, so maybe it is just luck of the draw – but for me I couldn’t have hoped better.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
At times I was busy at times I really wasn’t. During all the financial difficulties a lot of Marketing initiatives were cut, something that really annoyed me, for me it suggests a slightly pre-historic approach to business, but oh well! Thankfully Cummins really encourages a lot of Community Involvement so there was always the potential to do something.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Again, being as a lot of initiatives were cut these sort of questions are hard to answer; at the start of the year I felt like I was on the path to being given a LOT of responsibility, as projects were cut and there was less for the department to do this seemed to fade. More because there were less things to keep numerous people busy rather than because my manager didn’t want to give me responsibility.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
In terms of my learnings helping in my final year it is hard to say; a lot of the skills I learnt were not really applicable to the university environment. However I definitely believe they will help me post university, whatever my eventual job path; which is something I’m grateful for.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It’s a shame – the people were a right laugh. If there had been no redundancies or restructuring this would be a definite 10. However the mood was massively effected by all the changes, and a perceived poor management and communication of the change, so I’ve had to drop the score down.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I was the first ever placement in my role, so I would have to say considering this the placement was run pretty well. There were times when it could have gone, or been organised, slightly better, but on the whole I can not complain too much in this area, thankfully.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The firm did not really invest in me that much as a business; they paid for a few training modules which were either extensively about generators – useful for the job but nothing else – or the sort of teamwork mumbo jumbo we all receive at university. The real training and development came more from the people I was surrounded by.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
My manager has on numerous occasions said she would love to have me back as a graduate, assuming there is the possibility. I’m not holding out much hope that there will be the possibility due to the downward financial results of the company. I would love to work with my manager again, but I suppose luckily I wouldn’t want to work for the company again, it’s just not my thing.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The social element amongst the placements was an odd one. There were 30 of us, and I can say that some of the people here were pretty great. We went on holidays together, hung out in spare time and kept in pretty constant contact throughout the year! But on the otherhand considering there were 30 of us numerous people did not want to socialise either at work or in free time.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The costs are fairly cheap and expensive at the same time. Ramsgate is a terrible place to live, literally nothing happens. To have a really good time you’ve either got to have some special people you can enjoy spending time with and not spend money, or you have to spend a lot of money enjoying time with less special people but doing cool things.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I have to use 50 words here, can I say non-existent 50 times?! Ramsgate has about 3 ‘clubs’, or at least that’s what they brand themselves as. A single weatherspoons type place, and about 20 old school British Supremacist pubs – avoid these like the plague. I had a few good nights out during the year, but the placement mantra seemed to be ‘I can’t wait to go back to uni to have a proper night out’
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Again Ramsgate is a dead end. There isn’t much going on in any sense of the words. I spent a lot of time with my girlfriend at home, some evenings with the guys doing things in one of our houses or having a pint. I think my only activity of note was the very occasional bowling night.