Prototype Designer at BAT

Top Employer
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Southampton South East
Review Date
£16,000 - £17,999
Design Engineering Graphic Design
BAT is a Top Employer


The Role



The Role

Role Description

CAP3 Designer - working on machine processes for new cigarette technology, and how to scale those processes. Designing new graphics for products, and manufacturing / designing new samples of products.

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

Personally, the area I worked in was fantastic. I felt valued, i felt as if the projects I was working on were useful to the company, and innovative! The work environment is a little quiet, and sometimes it feels very much like ''office work'' but at other times I was making cool prototypes and trying out crazy machinery tests.


2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

My manager and I got along really well and generally, my team was supportive. We had meals out often, spoke almost every day about ''not just work stuff'' and had a good laugh. I felt that you get out, what you put in. If you ask around and look for work in other areas of the company, most people are happy to oblige. I went seeking graphics work and showed my previous work to some managers and they immediately got me some work that the company now wants to use, and this was a huge confidence boost.


3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

At the start - lots of guidance. My manager had been working here for over 20 years and so was an encyclopedia of knowledge, whereas i had no product knowledge but was good with theory. The undergraduate training was good to start with and slacked off towards the end of the year. Generally, though, i was given opportunities often - and then when it was clear I had a grasp of the company, and the way certain things were manufactured, my boss gave me projects to manage and let me learn on the job, which was much better.


4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

At the start, not so busy, mainly training, and watching meetings that you have no idea whats going on about. But towards the middle we had loads to do, I was working hard and had multiple projects going at the same time, but luckily not to the point of being too overwhelmed. It's important to not take on too much and often I found myself saying ''i need to delay that''. There was a dead period of a month or so for me around January, where we were waiting for results - so i took that time to seek experience out of my placement area, and this lead to further work for the rest of the year, and something i really enjoyed!


5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

Lots. It seemed to be only my area when comparing to other students ... but i was in charge of 2 projects and was actually given management over them. This was tough and, talking to engineers much older then i was is a tough situation but you learn soft skills quickly and i felt as if what i was doing was beneficial to the team. I was given deadlines regularly, and the work I had finished was presented to directors on several occasions, so had to be very high quality.


6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

To my study, i learned new software and graphics techniques (although self-taught not by BAT) this will help. Otherwise, the skills learned will not be totally usable in my degree... however, the skills are VERY useful in the workplace, no matter where you work. I'll admit that i enjoyed working at BAT more then I enjoy being at Uni. Having a set routine, and working towards real life products made me feel incredibly good - and the connections I have made here will, I'm sure, give me a good head start when graduating.


The Organisation

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

Quite a quiet office. Very structured and serious, however, my team was fun enough. We socialised regularly, and lunch times were good for this. Most of the day was spent not talking much , and i felt like I had to be proactive to ask questions and find out about things. I'd say the office needs to be modernized slightly, and create a more relaxed atmosphere, it's currently very ''stiff'' and not lively.


8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

At the start very well organized, we had training set up and it's easy to get in contact with the undergrad staff about general questions. My boss didn't seem to have any projects particularly set up for me to do, and rather instead, used me as an extra staff member, which i preferred! I often work better when there is no set plan in place, however i can see this being frustrating to people who aren't like me. I enjoyed working alongside him on the real projects. The training slacked off towards the end of the year, and we were expected to host some events ourselves, which was a good development opportunity.


9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

This is where working for a major corporation has it's perks, they have enough money to really help you out. They sent me on CAD courses, and on several trips to London. I know other students went abroad, and I was offered this option but it didn't go ahead. They gave me equipment and training that was worth decent amounts of money, and allowed me to use all the BAT facilities, in terms of printing and graphics, even getting me specialist editing software, which no-one else in the area had! I felt very valued.


10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Subsidised Canteen
  • Sports and Social Club
  • Subsidised/Company Gym
  • National Travel
  • International Travel
  • Financial Bonus
  • Company Parties/Events
  • Above 25 days holiday

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

Yes, Yes, Yes. I would love to work in a similar area, or within graphics. Offer me a job.



12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

Yes and No. I lived alone, because I had housing connections, and the others lived in a couple of houses in groups. Towards the beginning of the year, we all hung out alot out of work, and had lunch together most days, as a comfort thing. As the year went on, I went out less, the others seemed to socialize a fair amount in their own homes, but at no point did i feel as if i missed out on much living alone. All the major events and fun times I still attended. As the year progressed we molded more in our teams and had lunch less regularly, but still met for coffee often and generally had a good laugh at social events.


13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

Flat alone was 695 a month, which is average - steep, but worth it, my flat was gorgeous and i really enjoyed having my own space at last (not sharing a dilapidated student house) but compared to where my uni was, this was still cheaper! Southampton itself is fairly normal pricing, not cheap, but not expensive, cant complain.


14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

Awful. I like live music, and small quiet pubs / bars ... southampton has a few major clubs but they were pretty grim, and not worth the hassle. I usually went away from Southampton at the weekends into the new forest or home to Brighton - which i preferred. Some of the bars around Bedford Place are nice, and maybe worth a visit. We had a local hangout, called ''lime bar'' which was a tiny bar that no-one ever went to, so it was nice and quiet - had a pool table and soon became our group's spot.


15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

There's a football team (which i didn't play for), and some christmas parties, quizes and fun events that I'll admit were really good fun. Other then this, not too much from what I saw.