Overall the work was extremely enjoyable, the work that I was given was really interesting and gave me a good insight on both a broad view of the company as well as small technical details for individual systems. There was a good mix of office based design/documentation work and practical hands-on work.
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My managers ensured that the work that I was given was important to the project as a whole - and I was given work similar to that of other members in the team. My colleagues would always praise me if i made a good contribution. At the end of the placement it felt as if I was a fully fledged member of the team.
Whenever I was given a new task my manage or supervisor, they would always go out of their way to answer any queries I have or give me any help or support I may need. They were always open and approachable which never made me felt put off to ask for help. Support was always available whenever I needed it.
The amount of work was often dependent on the time of the placement. For most of the time I had a decent amount of work to be getting on with, but I never felt like I was overloaded with work. Some weeks were busier than others of course. However there were a few times (specifically the first and last few weeks) where I hardly had anything to do at all.
During the first few months of the placement I was only given smaller jobs, mainly because it took me a while to learn all the details about the major systems our team is working on. However as the year progressed I was given much larger jobs including full responsibility over a couple major systems.
I am certain that the skills I have learnt during the placement year will help in future jobs, especially things like formal document writing, engineering processes, health and safety, management skills etc. However I do not think it will help much with regards to my further degree studies, as I found that most of the things I learnt during my first few years at university did not help at all during my day to day work.
The general atmosphere in my particular office was really good, most likely due to the fact it is a small office with only 10 or so people - it's like a little community. Since there is little to no presence of high up management in the office there is always a good amount of chatting and office banter, But there are also quieter times when everyone gets stuck into their own work. (Note that whilst my particular office deserves a 10/10, most other larger offices in the business definitely do not have the same relaxed atmosphere and would be given a lower mark)
Overall the placement plan was well organised, from the beginning of the year I was given a solid overview of the plan for the coming year, where I will be working and what kind of work I will expect. Since the placement year is scheme fully committed to by the company, they ensure that it all runs as smoothly as possible from the interview process to exit day. However the first few weeks were slow due to delays in sorting out IT equipment and access to certain areas/software setup.
There was no end of training courses that I had to undertake throughout the year, mainly to give me a broader overview on different aspects of the business. During the placement year the company ensures you get experience with working in numerous areas of the business. They also heavily encourage and support us with engineering chartership and help us fulfil the criteria.
Generally I would happily consider coming back to work for the company in the future - there is a lot of opportunity to progress, the work is extremely interesting and the company does offer a lot of personal development opportunities. The only things holding me back is the location and the conflicts with my plans following uni.
Thanks to the large number of placement students, graduates and apprentices taken on by the company there are always plenty of social events constantly being organised, as well as numerous trips to the pub... There are lots of smaller social groups which you can join. There have also been a few social events with my work colleagues, particularly around Christmas time or when somebody leaves.
Probably one of the cheapest areas in the UK. Enough said.
The nightlife is generally good in the town, with many bars and clubs to go to (as well as no end of cheap pubs). However it is not as good as most cities in the country. There are also no other decent towns and cities within a 1 hour drive so there aren't many other options.
There were plenty of opportunities to outdoor activities, thanks to the lake district which is just down the road. It mainly appeals to those who like cycling, hiking, rowing, climbing etc. There are also plenty of sports clubs in town to get involved in. Other than that there isn't much else to do - since a lot of other indoor activities such as go-karting and bowling have shut recently