The work placement gave me the opportunity to interact and network with a number or professionals from a wide variety of engineering and non engineering (procurement, finance, commercial, project management) backgrounds. All of these people came together into a friendly and effective team to meet the objectives set out by the customers and senior management.
I felt incredibly valued by my colleagues, from a number of different perspectives. My colleagues gave me more and more responsibility as the placement progressed, which made me feel part of the team and as if the team accepted and respected my decision making ability. Furthermore, I was treated as an equal and invited to team lunches and contract award celebrations along with the rest of the team. This gave me the full experience of working as part of a team.
Support and guidance was always available where I required it. My line manager always had the time to listen to and answer my questions, and the entire team were willing to help me if there was something I didn't understand. This was even extended to my line manager and supervisors inviting me to meetings with customers and senior management in order to give me the experience of dealing with different groups of people.
I was busy for the duration of my placement, following the cycles of the business. For the first week or so I had a relatively small amount going on while I was waiting for appropriate clearances, health and safety sign offs and a few IT problems. Aside from that, I always had work to do but never felt pressured into working excessive hours, and I enjoyed the work I had.
As is to be expected (and desired from my point of view), I initially had minimal responsibilities beyond turning up to work and looking smart. Once I had been on the job for a few weeks I was given supervised responsibility over systems architecture technical drawings for an upcoming project deadline and in the final 2 months of my placement I worked closely with a senior engineer on a small project within the business.
While I could always ask a senior engineer if I had doubt over something, I was given the opportunity to equally contribute in meetings both internally and with customers. My views were always taken seriously, and I was treated as an equal part of the team; where the team would explain their own way of thinking before asking me what I thought of their ideas, and I had the opportunity to do the same.
I developed a number of core engineering skills over the duration of the placement which are not normally taught in degrees or schools (such as requirements management, availability calculations and technical drawings). These will help me enormously once I have graduated, as they are transferable skills which are applicable to all areas of engineering. I also learnt a lot about the technical aspects of my projects, which will help me within the field of my placement.
The atmosphere was incredibly positive and friendly. The open-plan nature of the office meant that everyone could talk to each other from their desks, while there was also a 'break-out' area with sofas, a TV and a coffee machine. There was also a weekly cake rota (having cake in the office is a great way to improve morale!).
Aside from the first week (which ran slowly due to security clearances, laptops etc and health & safety training), the placement was set up incredibly well. I was able to ask anyone within my immediate office for support if I needed help, and I also had a dedicated 'buddy' - a graduate within my business group who could help me with day to day things (like how to apply for a hire car or fill out expenses).
The company gave me basic health and safety training when I first started the placement (which is to be expected), but I was also able to go on a 3 day training course on the engineering lifecycle, and do specific equipment training with external organisations.
Working from home
The organisation offers graduate positions across the UK and internationally. I intend to apply for the graduate scheme as the scheme has an agile structure which lets you move between projects every 6 months. This allows you to get a good coverage of different project types across the 2 year graduate scheme. If all my future experience within the Company is the same as the experience I have had over my placement year, then I look forward to any future employment I have within the company.
All the graduates and placement students were good friends, and we would go out together once a month or so. This is mainly due to how expensive the South Coast area is, and so we tried to meet up for lunch together most days. The graduates and placement students had the same friendly attitude as the regular full time employees, which made it easy to socialise at lunch time and in quiet times.
The South Coast of England is an expensive place to live and socialise, unfortunately. It is, however, right on the beach which is free to use! This also means that exercise at lunch time can be a run down to the shore, along the beach and back to work, and that weekends (especially during summer) are in a lovely part of the world.
The nightlife was good where I experienced it, but the cost of a night out meant that I didn't go out as much as I would have at university.
Many colleagues took advantage of the proximity to the beach to use the lunch break for either sport or a walk to the beach and back. There was also the opportunity to socialise with colleagues in the evenings or weekends, and some people had set up a 7-a-side football tournament on Tuesday evenings. Furthermore, there was a Christmas lunch, team lunches once per month and contract award celebrations on an ad-hoc basis which were all good opportunities for a relaxed conversation with people who are normally colleagues or supervisors.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Armed Forces/Military, Computer and Systems Engineering, Customer Service, Engineering, Information Technology, Telecommunications
6th April 2017
£18,000 - £19,999