You will be required to work directly with the decision makers to understand the problems, questions and scenarios in order to develop a suitable modelling approach, undertake robust and accurate modelling and subsequently deliver the modelling outputs to inform or de-risk future decisions. Your responsibilities as a Systems Engineer will include requirements analysis, systems integration, testing, qualification and acceptance in order to ensure we deliver highly successful products and services first time.
The placement was an extremely positive experience and provided me with a wide variety of work. Had my university not required a report to be done on all the things I had done throughout, I would not have realised just how much I've done and how wide of a variety the work has been. Each work I received tackled and helped me developed skills that I was weak in such as confidence in communicating with senior people down, and as well as perfecting skills I was already strong in, such as organisation. There was also a lot of work which developed subject specific skills such as report writing.
As I did not work with the entire team and so could not say how valued I felt by those. However I am certain that those I have worked with or assisted in helping small tasks with; praised me for the help and quick solution or dedicating time for them, thus making me feel like a very valued member of the team.
Through the placement I had two managers, a line manager (who was responsible for support and wellbeing of all industrial placements and graduates within the business unit) and a placement manager (who was responsible for giving me tasks and develop my skills and knowledge in the industry). Having two managers was great as I felt able to talk about any topic freely with either one and they would gladly help me out if needed. I set up performance objectives with my placement manager which we would then go and review with the line manager to ensure that it is in-line with the expected learning outcome of taking a placement at BAE Systems.
On top of my usual work, I was also tasked with what the company calls "stretch assignments". These were tasks outside of the current work I had to do, but were always a good opportunity to push myself in terms of being able to handle more tasks at the same time, whilst developing my skills whilst performing these tasks. Although not compulsory, I was recommended to take them up provided I still delivered my main work on time. There were days where I was much less busy (mostly after I send my work for review), and would ask around the team to see how I would be able to help; keeping me busy and develop my relationship with other sub-teams.
In all the work that I did, whether they were stretch assignments for my line manager or work for my placement manager, I was always given a level of responsibility. For example, I ended up owning an entire analysis (after approval from my placement manager) and would be the one to ask in the team about either the work or being part of a core team working closely with the Head of Engineering and Operations.
Throughout the placement I learnt small bits and pieces that add up very quickly to be a huge impact on efficient working. I was also provided with several training in different areas, from the basics of writing a good quality business document to a more technical training on that such as product safety. Skills I learnt at work were invaluable and will help me in becoming a more confident person and organising my time better through the use of various tools that are readily available.
Due to the nature of work I was doing and level of seriousness about it, it was mostly a serious atmosphere but it meant everyone was able to get one with their work. However there would be times when everyone would just begin chatting and relaxing a bit from work before getting back to it. I feel like these light chats are what made it a better working environment as I was able to get on with my work. I did notice in other offices where people were more lively but it comes back to the nature and seriousness of the work being done in the team.
The work itself was not the best organised at the beginning but this was applicable to all as we were dependent on a contract being concluded and finalised before we began work. However during this time I got myself involved with many stretch assignments made available and helped developed my skills. After choosing to undertake the work, it was then down to me for organising it and making sure that I was not falling behind; giving me responsibility and developed my organisational and planning skills.
The company invested a lot in all the placement students, providing various training and events to attend to, showcasing the various things BAE Systems are involved in and the support that they give to drive more people into undertaking a STEM career. As a STEM ambassador I was also invited to attend several events, one of which I attended was Land Rover 4x4 in Schools Challenge as a Judge, which the company funded us placement students involved. Overall, it was a very supportive and positive experience when it came to personal training and development.
After taking a stretch assignment in which I held meetings with many different managers across the business unit, I noticed the wide variety of roles available and also the possibility of being seconded to an external business unit or business altogether! Because of this flexibility and the wide opportunities, it is a very appealing graduate scheme at the very least!
There were many social events not only between my fellow placement students and/or colleagues, but also with the apprentices. There were nights out, Christmas parties, BBQs, and other smaller events. Overall it was a good social scene amongst my fellow placement students, colleagues, and apprentices.
The cost of living was not expensive, though it depended on how far from work you wanted to live in. Compared to other locations in the UK, the cost of living was not high at all as it had all the big supermarkets such as Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrison's, etc. and eating out was inexpensive as well! Social activities such as crazy gold, pubs, and bowling were not expensive either.
I am not so much of an outgoing nightlife person so I am unable to comment on the nightlife.
Activities outside of work with those in work would typically be organised between those interested in the activity to begin with. Unlike university, there wasn't a "social" with respect to the activity, instead it was more "if you want to do it, then let's do it together", e.g. tennis or football.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Placement Year (10 Months+)