Supporting the manufacture of industrial water treatment technology.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The placement grew in leaps and bounds, but there were small 'lulls' whereby my own personal projects had to be put on hold to assist the needs of the business resulting in the odd week being a bit repetitive. I learnt bucket loads across the year and was able to get involved in many valuable projects.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
This varied from colleague to colleague, a minority were unsure about interns in general, but the majority were very welcoming and supportive. I felt valued because of the quality of the responsibilities and projects I was given, I knew I was delivering real value to the business and my colleagues appreciated that. I learnt a great deal over the year and that too assisted in me feeling values as I was able to teach being what I had learnt by the end of the year.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was fortunate enough to have two supervisors, both of whom sat next to me. This meant that one of them was always available should I need some help. The intern programme here is very well established, so it meant my managers knew how to grow my responsibilities and when to give me bigger/harder projects.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Just as I imagine it does with most jobs, the workload comes in peaks and troughs. When projects are coming close to the deadline, the workload is very high and as I work in a manufacturing site, if several orders come in then everyone feels the pressure to work together and deliver. In general however, I knew what needed to be done when I came to work and had a steady flow of tasks going in and out. On balance, very manageable.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
This grew and grew throughout the placement, but personal highlights included leading manufacturing of one-off 'pilot' jobs, organising and running the entire site's 'town hall' meeting and going on 4 site visits, which featured a week long work trip too! As interns, we were given lots of responsibility because it allows us to learn more, we are told at the start of our placement that we will become a real part of the work force and business - that is really delivered!
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The bulk of the skills I have learnt are not directly transferable to my degree, chemical engineering. But, they are softer skills that will be useful in future life, such as time/project management, presentation skills and networking. Official training I have received did include 2D CAD, confined space training, Diphoterine use and the National Safety Passport.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Generally, the office was very professional. everyone was very friendly, but work was indefinitely the focus. Fortunately, weekly bike rides and football was organised to allow everyone to blow off some steam and have some fun together outside of work. Work meals were arranged form time to time as well and the Christmas party was a real highlight, which helped boost morale!
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
the intern programme has been long established here and that showed from the recruitment process right through onboarding and continuing into the internship. My supervisors knew exactly how to grow my role in terms of responsibilities, projects and expectations. As interns we are encouraged to speak out if we see things that can be improved upon and seek our own projects which align with our interest
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I really cannot fault GE here! At almost every opportunity, I was given some kind of training or opportunity for personal development. Firstly, at the beginning of my placement I was offered 2D CAD training full paid for at a local college! I received confined space training, the National Safety Passport and Diphoterine training too. There is a prestigious and rigorous 2-week course called MobileFlow School that trains the field engineers all the essential knowledge and safety based skills they need for their job; all the interns were put on this course too. Renewable energy is a strong passion of mine and along with 3 site visits to water treatment (which is the industry my placement is in) sites, was a fourth site visit to a wind turbine manufacturing site in France! We were continually made aware of graduate programmes and careers paths within the company too!
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
GE showed that they are a diverse, leading edge company with many, many different things to offer. With all the different GE businesses, there are almost endless opportunities! On a site of approximately 45, 3 of the senior management positions are held by people who used to be interns. As interns we have been offered contract extensions through summer and all been encouraged to apply for positions within the company post graduation.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Before the placement began, GE put all of the sites interns in touch and from there we were able to organise housing for us all to live together during our placement year. This was great as it felt a little more like what we were used to at university and it was good to live with people going through the same thing; an intern hub! Living together (and close to work) allowed us to spend our evenings together doing whatever we fancied, from the cinema sports. All the interns had long distance relationships so were often away at weekends, but it meant we made the most of our weekdays together.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived in Orton, Peterborough. The local food shop, coop, was quite pricey. however, if you were prepared to drive there was a Tesco nearby which is cheaper. The cost of rent was £375 p/m including bills and wifi, so this was very affordable with our wage. Peterborough in general, isn't too expensive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Peterborough has some nice bars/pubs, but lacks a social scene and lively atmosphere that student cities have. there is barely a music scene and no nightclubs worthy of note. My favourite place is called Charters, an old two storey boat that on the top deck is a very nice Thai restaurant and below is a lively bar, with many different home brewed beers/ciders and live music that runs late into the night. There is ice hockey, dog racing and a motorbike racing arena for something a little different.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
GE ran a weekly bike ride and football match during the summer months, but this dropped off during winter leaving winter nights a bit bleak. As mentioned before I was away most weekends, which stopped me really getting involved in local clubs/activities. however, I know there is a good/active tennis club, mountain bike club, 5-a-side football and most other things you would expect a city to offer.