1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my placement in Buro Happold as got to work on very interesting projects with people who never hesitated to help or explain something that I wasn't sure of.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My team was very welcoming. I enjoyed overall atmosphere in the office and team was making sure I got involved in all aspects of their everyday work: weekly meetings, mailings as well as nights out.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My supervisor wasn't himself involved in guidance of some sort, but he made sure that there would always be someone to explain things to me or help with something I found unclear. Usually I would just ask somebody sitting next to me and I never had a problem when I would be left on my own without any support.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
In the beginning of a placement there were few days when I didn't have much to do, so I usually was reading and analysing past projects. That wasn't the case later in the placement, as I usually had couple of things to do at the same time. Nevertheless, I wasn't overflown with work and it was reasonably manageable.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Responsibility given to me depended on the tasks and my work was obviously always checked. Sometimes I was given things like editing reports, which did not bear that much responsibility. However, later in the placement my tasks involved things like structural fire resistance calculations which I believe are pretty responsible.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My skills definitely developed by a great margin. It was interesting to see how my knowledge from university can be applied solving real life engineering problems. I was asking a lot of question during this placement and my colleagues were happy to answer them, so I learnt a really fair amount about how engineering and construction is actually done and how it's different from theory taught in university.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
I was surprised how relaxed the atmosphere in the office was even though everyone is really busy with their work. People always seem to help each other and to share the workload. Also, office was organising socials for example barbecue on the office roof or mini-golf night, which I think was a good way to meet people from other teams.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I discussed that with my supervisor, that placement was not going to have a strict structure. I was asked what sort of things I would like to learn and do during the placement and supervisor made sure I got to do projects that involved those things. I think it is a good strategy to let placement students to work on ongoing projects and learn what they wish to at the same time introducing to thing that they might not have thought of.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was usually given tasks that would benefit my understanding of the industry and how things work in design office. Also, colleagues spent quite a lot of time explaining things to me and making sure I understand what I am doing. Moreover, I got to attend a few seminars which were quite useful for me.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
After the placement I was given an opportunity to join them as a graduate engineer and I took the offer.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There is a group called "Young Engineers Forum", which attracts placement students and graduate engineers. They organise talks and socials, which seem to be quite popular. However, I did not get involved too much at that time. Nevertheless, usually on Fridays most of the colleagues used to go to the pubs. Also as I mentioned earlier, office organised BBQs and other activities so there were plenty of opportunities to socialise with co-workers.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I was living in London, so really expensive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Again, it's London, so there are so many things to do for everyone's taste.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Working hours are pretty long, but a lot of people in my office were doing some kind of sports. There are plenty of activities to be involved either within the office (basketball team etc.) or outside.