I have really enjoyed my internship here at BAE Systems. The site in Rochester specialises in Electronic Systems, which directly links back to my degree and a lot of the work is integrated into aircraft, another passion of mine. The internship has given me an insight into the company itself and a taste of working in a professional engineering environment. The work I was given was a project the company was actually investigating, as opposed to being designed specifically for the internship, this made the work feel worthwhile and that you were making a difference and contribution. The extra opportunities available at the site were also fantastic such as trying out the flight simulators. The work however was more desk based than anticipated which was not as preferable however the work itself was engaging. 12 weeks wasn't quite enough to get fully into everything though, just as it was getting exciting it was time to leave!
Extremely - all the staff here are fantastic and treat you with the upmost respect. You are made to feel like a real member of staff and within a week it feels as though you've always worked here. All members of staff were approachable and willing to provide help and advice whenever you asked and gave constructive and supportive feedback.
Support and guidance was fantastic. Regular meetings/phone calls ensured progress was kept and also allowed me to clarify anything and ask any questions I may have had. A mid-placement review and final review also helped to talk about the experience of my internship on a whole and if I had any concerns or ideas for development.
For most of my placement I was kept busy with a steady stream of work. The days would always start with a progress meeting which helped focus the work for the rest of the day. Sometimes however if a problem arose, there were times when there was slightly less work to do/more mundane tasks that didn't seem as relevant. Extra 'Friday challenges' were a good way to help break up the normal project work and allow you to work on something different. The last week of the placement consisted of writing a report and wrapping things up so there wasn't much to do after this was done.
I was responsible for my own project so I conducted all the work myself. I reported to my supervisor on my progress and confirmation on what I would be doing next but all the work itself was completed by myself. With the exception of some manufacture work which had to be done by an experienced member of staff; understandable but would have been nice to at least have an attempt myself.
I attended many training sessions including 'agile scrum' and 'learn first product development'. These skills were important to learn and I will definitely be taking them forward to use and uni and beyond. The skills I learnt weren't specific to the job which is why they are so useful, they're applicable to any profession; time management, team management etc. there's no doubt I will always need to use these skills in the future.
The atmosphere seemed pretty standard, nothing loud or exciting. However, lots of the summer interns were seated together which provided chance to talk to each other and get to know the new people you were working with. This was good during breaks which provided a more dynamic atmosphere. The rest of the office all brought cake in on people's birthday which was a nice touch but on an average day, the office wasn't anything special- it didn't exactly get you excited for work.
On the whole, the internship was very well set up. There were a couple of hiccups with IT at the start, but that seems typical of any company. The work itself wasn't as well organised as I'd like, with a long time at the start of the internship talking about what would be happening, it took at least a week and a half to actually start doing any work. There needs to be more talk between HR and the engineering departments too, as there were often contradictions in things that we were told.
We had a mid-placement and final placement review which was focused on personal development; what we'd enjoyed so far, improvement suggestions, opportunities for further development etc. These reviews lasted between 30-45 minutes which provided a good chance to talk about what skills we'd be using so far from our training and how we could apply ourselves even more to improve our work and work style.
I have been offered to come back for my year in industry which I am very happy about. The company has plenty of opportunities for progression and moving around the company. There are plenty of different business areas and there are sites over the world. Being employed here would provide chance to work on some cutting-edge technology that will be used throughout the world which is a fantastic achievement.
There was a good social scene between the other interns; we would go out for drinks and food which was a good way to hear about everyone else's experiences. As for current employees, there was a BBQ organised with the graduate employees which was good to speak to existing employees but asides this there was nothing really with existing employees - it would have been good if there was chance to do more and integrate.
Being in South, things are more expensive than the North but nothing was extortionate. I found somewhere pretty cheap to live (with a current employee) and shopped at a supermarket so money wasn't much of an issue. I did get the bus to work which is where a lot of money went. And the subsidised canteen at work was still quite expensive. Drinks are normally expensive in the surrounding area but there was a Wetherspoons so that wasn't a problem.
Poor. There are a few places available but nothing exciting/decent. Also, the surrounding area isn't a good place to be once it's gone dark, there is quite a high crime rate which is a bit of a put off for going out in the evening. Taxi's are an option obviously but I for one aren't prepared to pay for one.
Few. I would have loved to have gone flying at the nearby airfield but the company no longer run their flying scheme. I know the local gym was available and a few sporting meetups (football, table tennis etc) but asides that, there aren't really any activities to get involved in.