I thoroughly enjoyed my placement. It has taken me out of my comfort zone and put me in situations I wouldn't have thought I could have handled before I began my placement. I've had exposure to a large variety of markets within the engine business which has been insightful for my degree. I've also learned a lot about myself and the type of job I want in the future.
I felt fairly valued. To some more than others of course. It was hard for me to begin with to integrate with the group but as time went on I felt more and more like one of the team. I think an improvement point here could be to do a team building day for placement students and their new team so everyone can get to know the new student in a more relaxed environment.
A lot of support was given. I had quarterly reviews and my manager was very flexible and allowed me to book one to ones as often as I wanted. We probably had about one a month on average. I felt free to ask her questions at any time. She was always really kind when I had questions and I never really felt like a bother. Even when I was working on events that I was leading, my manager and team were always there to lend a helping hand especially during set up when there are tedious jobs that need to be done.
Busyness varied on show season. During show seasons, I'll have lots to do in prep for shows whether I was attending them or not. Out of show season there is still a lot to be done however the deadlines for things to be done are not as tight. It's good experiencing both and both are definitely needed because a very busy job consistently isn't good for anyone long term although it is what I prefer.
I was given a lot of responsibility. I managed the social media account, was the key contact for one of our suppliers and also led a few events. Toward the end of my placement I had three events that I was leading all within four weeks of each other. It was high responsibility but it has probably been the best projects I have worked on.
As a Cummins placement student you are part of a student development programme with other placement students. You complete modules about time management, dealing with conflict and confidence. These modules were all really insightful for not only the work place but I also believe they're going to be helpful for my final year at university. In my day to day job I've learned a lot. My job has consisted in a lot of communication with people whether that be suppliers or just other colleagues I'm working on an event with. I've learned different people communicate differently and it's important to be aware of this especially when work with such a broad range of people.
The atmosphere in the office is very friendly and open. A lot more than I had imagined prior to starting placement. I thought everyone would be very closed off and focused on work. Everyone still works really hard but there is a good atmosphere about it. If this wasn't the case and I don't think I would have felt free to ask my 101 questions or feel like I can make a mistake and I definitely know I learned the most from asking questions and making mistakes.
The overall placement is very well organised. When I first begun I had a two week hand over period with the previous placement student. This was really helpful in getting started. In addition to that I had a one week induction with the whole placement group. During the induction we all got to know each other better with ice breaker activities, learned about the company and what was expected from us. As placement students we have monthly meetings to catch up on what everyone is doing and organise fundraising events.
Darlington plant run training and development sessions about various business areas and general working life. These opportunities are open to placement students to attend. In addition to this there are the modules placement students complete as part of the student development programme.
I'd really like to come back to Cummins Engine Plant in Darlington and work for the same team however at the moment I don't think there are any graduate jobs within the department available. There is a Sales and Marketing rotational graduate scheme which sounds great because there is the opportunity to see more areas of the business other than the engine side. However I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Darlington Engine Plant and would really love to continue working here if the opportunity were to arise.
There's a fairly good social scene amongst the placement students. It generally consists of nights out and the odd meal out. The social scene was probably stronger at the beginning of placement as everyone starts to get to know each other. It is also stronger with the students who have moved to Darlington for placement as they don't have many friends and family around them in their new location.
The cost of living in Darlington is very affordable. House renting and public transport is a lot cheaper than my university city. This is most likely due to Darlington's northern location. During placement I shared accommodation. I found this helped with saving costs. A lot of placement students in my year opted to live alone so depending on whether you opt to live alone or share can impact on your costs.
To begin with the nightlife in Darlington was great. I think that was because it was new and different to the nightlife in my university city. After a while it does get boring. There are areas around Darlington that are great for nights out such as Yarm, Durham and Newcastle. The only issue here is getting back to Darlington after the night out. Nights out to these places are best organised with a group and planned in advance.
There's a Sports and Social club at Darlington plant and they organise various trips day trips throughout the year to theme parks, horse racing and various shows. Anyone can take part in the trips, you don't have to be part of the club but you get a subsidised cost if you are part of the club.