1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My work placement was a fantastic opportunity for me to gain experience of a professional environment, it also gave me a chance to further my technical skills and abilities. It was not always easy and there were challenges getting accustomed to the workplace however it was always beneficial and rewarding.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
GE places a lot of responsibility on interns from the start. You feel like a full-time member of staff who is doing a normal job, no different from anyone else on site. This means that there is no feeling of being the “tea boy” and you feel like an asset rather than a burden.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Every intern is assigned a personal mentor and this helps as it gives you someone who can introduce you to the business and a focal point for any help you need. There are also regular “Professional Development” meetings between you and your manager and this helps to give you focussed priorities to work towards.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
There was never a moment where I felt I had nothing to do, and those interns who were less busy had the opportunity to pick up any projects they could identify in the shop to make cost savings /reductions in Turnaround time. At times, I felt slightly overwhelmed, but this helped me learn to effectively manage my time and prioritise my workload.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given lots of responsibility during my placement. I was chiefly responsible for the design, development and procurement of tooling to be used by the repair processes on site. This meant that I had the responsibility and authority to approve spending large amounts of money, and it was often my responsibility to ensure that the drawings were accurate and correct for the designs purpose.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The time management, work ethic, presentation and team working skills I developed will assist me when I return to my degree studies. Moving forward into the world of work I will no doubt benefit from the increased confidence and communication abilities that my year in industry has given me. Whilst I did not have much formal training, I feel that throughout the year I have been receiving “on the job” training.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
There was generally a pleasant and calm atmosphere in my office, however at times people could become stressed and this could rub off on the team. The office was relatively well organised and I had my own personal space to do my work. The office environment did feel quite competitive at times and generally there was quite a "serious" air to it.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Some aspects of the internship were very well organised, and others were lacking. Generally, I found that all the aspects that were organised by my team were very well thought through, however those that were organised by HR were poorly organised, for example on boarding and initial training. A lot of the necessary online accesses were not set up ready for my arrival and this prolonged the “settling in” period.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
In terms of specific targeted training there was not much that was compulsory. However, we did have numerous opportunities for personal development through taking on responsibility, such as leading projects and giving presentations. Some of the opportunities that were available to full time employees such as Lean Six Sigma “Green Belt Training” were not available to interns. Most personal training and development was left up to the individual to initiate.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would definitely consider working for GE in the future. There are certainly many opportunities available within the business for those who want to take them and GE seems to have a culture of building from within. Additionally, the opportunities for travel within the business are very appealing. Financially there seems to be a relatively good incentive to work for GE.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was a good social scene amongst fellow interns, regular nights out and social events were organised and many of the interns lived together. The social scene amongst professional colleagues at GE Wales seemed limited and most people were very focussed on their work. With that said the shop floor seemed to have very good social connections with those they worked with.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cardiff is a relatively cheap city to live and socialise in and there are good public transport links with the surrounding areas. Nights out are not expensive and rents are low in comparison to other major cities. Gyms are abundant throughout the city and are reasonably priced. Shops are generally reasonably priced.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Cardiff has a fantastic nightlife and there are opportunities for nights out to cater to any music taste. There are cinemas, bars, clubs, restaurants, gigs, plays and events such as annual firework displays to keep people entertained. Cardiff bay has recently been regenerated and has many new facilities for nights out.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were some opportunities to get involved with activities outside of work, for example some interns took on the “three peaks challenge” as part of a GE led charity fundraising initiative. There was also an employee cricket club which interns could become involved with. Opportunities to take part in charity events were frequent.