1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
It was a very enjoyable time spent. There was lots of work to get on with that was suitable to my knowledge base. The team dynamic meant that boring days where jobs were menial and repetitive were still good days to work. It was also enjoyable because I was given freedom to do jobs in the way I saw fit and also use intuition to progress the format and direction of the work.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very valued by my colleagues. It never felt like I was a burden or I was asking stupid questions. all inputs were accepted and helped me progress towards a more confident output. I was involved in discussions that mattered to me and if I had done the work this was highlighted and presented under my name.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Lots of support and advice was given. My manager has biweekly meetings with me to ensure that I am getting the most out of my placement and what I or he should do to help progress my learning and/or my understanding. We set aims at the beginning of the placement that gave us a target and meant that I wasn't typecast into one area of work without either of us realising or intending for it to happen.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Very busy, most of the time. there were the occasional lulls, however this was normally compensated for as I had to write a report to about the placement, which normally filled these lulls. There is lots of work to be getting on with and can be attempted at different times as and when needed which can fill gaps between the larger tasks that require closer attention.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given lots of responsibility depending on the task. One task was primarily run by myself in its direction and what results were to be found - this was an incredibly scary and useful experience as it meant that I had to coordinate information and report to superiors. Other tasks had a required output, however I was given responsibility for producing and deciding how to produce said required output.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills I gained will help me in group work at university more so than I currently have. The technical knowledge will not be useful at university however will be priceless knowledge for furthering my career. The increased help towards work ethic is very important towards later career. As always, the skills gained will be surprisingly useful in all realms of life even when they weren't expected to be. So I am very grateful for any development I have experienced.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office had a very good dynamic, with good working relationships to be had with everyone. By the end of the placement I would have been happy to have continued working with the people I worked with. The positive working attitude towards anything I produced kept my positivity up and helped me continue to produce good work.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Whilst others had problems, I was contacted months in advance of my placement by my residing engineer for information about myself and with information about what I would be starting on when I arrived. This correspondence helped me be certain of when and where my placement would be and the nature of the placement. Other activities, like site visits, were also well organised. The organiser of the placements was also easy to contact and easy to talk to, and had a real desire to ensure we were being kept up to a good standard.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Most training came from general company training exercises, which were covering issues on safety and data protection. Due to my short placement time I was not enrolled on larger training and development courses and didn't become PTS trained - allows me to work rail side. On the grand scheme, I am being invested in over a long term as I will be returning each summer.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The future employment prospects are great. Working at Network Rail means a large variety of engineering jobs are available in a variety of different engineering specialities. Being a QUEST student means I am guaranteed a job after university with Network Rail. The placement scheme is also set up so to have managers write letters of recommendation to have reemployment and even place students on graduate schemes after university. This gives very secure job prospects, so long as you perform.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There is not a large social scene. This is partially down to the colleague dynamic and the work load. Fellow students tend to not work in the same team/office and are hard to contact, therefore hard to organise social events. This could be helped by putting students together at the start of placements so to encourage a network, allowing social opportunities to develop.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cost of living is not too grand if you choose to live in student areas. the advantage I had is that I worked in the same city as my university, allowing me to stay in my university accommodation over the summer and not move. Travel is quick and allows you to travel easily and cheaply. There are multiple socialising areas and opportunities to attend with many clubs, bars, gyms, concert halls, parks to find.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Very good. Lots of nightclubs, concert halls, pubs etc. to go to. Very few areas of the city don't have some areas with a decent nightlife. It depends on what you want out of nightlife. There are many cinemas too, with a huge variety of restaurants and cafes. Other considerations are carnivals and fayres, which occur throughout the city and there is almost always one on somewhere.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are many opportunities outside of work. Some are advertised by the office itself. Being in the centre of a large city, You can find many places and groups to join in a variety of different activities. As with everything, looking and researching what you would like to do and other new things you can do is a great idea and you can find things if you look.