1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The placement itself was enjoyable, you got to see every aspect of a manufacturing site and were involved in an engineering role from day 1. You see what the job of a manufacturing engineer entails and also how to work in a production environment. It's a pro-active and reactive environment which pushes you to the limit.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Although the site has an older demographic, I felt valued by the colleagues in the office and we all socialized on several occasions* throughout the year! Everyone was helpful and it really eased us into the roles. They were really thoughtful and rewarded us for our hard work and great personalities.
*You do have to do most of the organising yourself but it's great fun.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
We were given a lot of support by our mentor/pundit in the office who was also our most vocal supporter. Our manager tended to be busy in his role but also frequently talked to us as there was a daily morning meeting in the office to review the tasks for the day and also any concerns or questions we had. Our mentor sat in the same area of the office as us and was able to guide us and assist us in the tasks we were given. You had to be able to work independently and to the standard that was held in the office as sometimes you were the only person with the information required or the skills needed to complete the task if someone else was on holiday or absent.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
At the start of the year, there was not enough work for the number of interns in the office. However, we were allowed to find other projects around site if the workload was too quiet. After Christmas, the workload was more evenly distributed between the remaining interns and we stay fairly busy now.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Initially, we were assisted by our mentor and the previous interns in the daily workload but after the initial teaching period you had to be able to work independently and to the standard that was held in the office. This was because sometimes you were the only person with the information required or the skills needed to complete the task if someone else was on holiday or absent.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
As you had to be confident, organized and capable of working both independently or in a group during the internship, I learned a lot of skills that will help in any future studies or career I have. The specific skills learned during this placement in regards to engineering have helped me decide on the kind of career I'll be looking to get into once I graduate and also to appreciate the amount of work that is required in a manufacturing role on a large site such as the one I was placed in.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
There was always healthy conversation in the office which meant that you were never bored or felt out of place. There was also enough quiet that you could get work done but you knew that if you needed any help, there was always someone there to help! People were friendly and genuine, it was one of the best things about the placement!
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement was fairly well organized, however the amount of work per intern ratio was not considered to begin with as there was quite a light workload for the first few months. You did get a chance to work with various people around the site and take on or create your own projects but that required your initiative and organizational skills.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There were monthly intern catch-up calls and also frequent talks with the manager or your mentor throughout the placement. You also had contact with HR for any major issues or things which required assistance from outside the office but it depended on what your situation was and what sort of personal training or development you needed.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
GE is a global and multifaceted company which offers a lot of roles in various fields so I would consider a future role with them. The perks and prospects within the company do appeal to a lot of people which is why they take on a lot of graduates and have multiple schemes in place to accept people in to.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Amongst the interns, the social scene was not great but there were a few of us who lived in Southampton central who frequently met up throughout the year. There were a lot of different personalities (as can be expected in any job!) so not everyone was able to get along but you do make some good friends and meet a lot of new people!
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The area was fairly cheap in terms of food and accommodation, as to be expected when not living in London, with food prices around the national average, I think. You can expect fairly cheap drinks as it is a student town with two universities located there so there are plenty of places to eat or drink at.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife was good in the area where we lived, however work is located about 20 minutes away by car and is in a much quieter and rural area. Southampton has a lot of student nights and bars to visit as it is a student town but it can also be quieter depending on the areas you visit. There's also a few things to do in terms of activities and groups so you have lots of options when you live there. I'd recommend living in Southampton and commuting in as the nightlife in Hamble is nowhere near as good.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were a few opportunities to get involved with activities outside of work, I became a STEM volunteer through GE and also got to visit different places in the UK to see things which were related to engineering such as a trip to Worcester to see a company there which produces some of the machines we use. We also had several charity events that we were notified of outside work such as runs or cycling events but I wasn't involved with there and did them separately in my own time.