-Validate population model to assist in MRTP application to the FDA.
-Statistical support to the rest of department.
My placement with British American Tobacco has been thoroughly enjoyable. The whole placement scheme ran successfully and professionally, while maintaining an element of fun and excitement, which for me, is the whole point of placement. The placement organisers inducted us all into the company through several weeks of induction programmes. This allowed us all to gradually settle into working life at our own pace. It also allowed us to build a closer relationship with the other placement students as well as people who work full time in the business. Knowing people at work certainly makes the year more enjoyable! While these inductions finished by the first month or so, other induction events are set-up through the year, principally to aid our learning and development, but also helped to break up the work schedule and to remind us that we are on placement and that a big goal of this year is to enjoy it, which I certainly did.
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On the whole I felt fairly valued. I feel the project that was assigned to me this year has great importance for the business. Therefore, being given a project like that made me feel important and valued, and as though my work really is contributing to the business. However, sometimes I would be given some menial work. While I recognise that sometimes I have to be flexible to meet business needs, it felt at the time as though my time was more expendable than others and that's how these jobs were assigned to me.
Furthermore, it took some time for me to integrate into the office, with the people around me. And while I probably still wouldn't say that I've now fully integrated with everyone, I feel a lot more comfortable in the office and to approach people if needed. However, I felt it took longer to reach this stage than anticipated and probably took longer than perhaps some of the other students who worked in different departments to reach this stage. While I recognise a large part of integration and developing working relationships must come from me being proactive and approaching new people, I feel some people in the office could have equally made more of an effort. As a new starter I was always going to be somewhat nervous and perhaps my settling in could have better been aided by people.
Plenty of support and guidance was given to me by my line manager. The project assigned to me this year involved many new skills I was unfamiliar with. My line manager helped me through the learning process, was always approachable to answer any questions I might have had. My line-manager is always on the ball with our Weekly, Monthly and Quarterly reviews. These helped us track my personal development and my project milestones which I found very useful. It was also a good opportunity to hear feedback. The placement supervisors were always helpful as well, giving advice and support for the more general things, beyond my work project, such as admin and uni etc.
This varied a lot for me. At the start of the year things were really relaxed. Sometimes I would have very little to do and often ended up giving myself jobs just to fill the time. This changed over time as expected and things started to pick up. There was a certain point in the year where my entire department was pushed for time and often I would find myself arriving early and leaving late to accommodate for the work load. Therefore I feel as though, on the whole, I have been given an adequate amount of work. These days, I would never say that I don't have anything to do and it seems the moment I finish a task, some more would come just at the right time.
As mentioned before, the project assigned to me, I feel, carries a lot of importance to the business. It certainly feels that way when my boss' boss is so keen on having it complete before I leave! So because of this I feel I was given a lot of responsibility, being the key player for delivering this project. Beyond the project however, I feel as though some of the jobs given to me were less important and therefore I carried less responsibility. So on the whole, I felt I was given a fair amount of responsibility through the project given to me, but not much else beyond that.
The most translatable skills developed are learning to use different programmes. While I probably wont get a chance to use the same programmes back at university, knowledge of these are useful nonetheless, for theory for example. Different programmes can often be similar anyway, so knowledge of one programme can assist my learning in another. And even if I won't get a chance to use these programmes at university I may be able to pick them up again in the future. Other skills learnt this year include many 'soft' skills, such as: interpersonal, organisation, prioritisation, presentation, interview, professionalism, CV skills etc.. (some of which formal training was conducted) these are all skills that I can apply back to university and beyond.
The general atmosphere in the office is very relaxed. Dress code is very laid back and while casual Friday's aren't official, no-one would bat an eyelid if you turned up in jeans and trainers. People chat amongst themselves in the office as well, not even necessarily about work. Working hours are very flexible, sometime you may leave early and sometimes you might stay a little later, but so long as it all averages out, it's fine. On my first day asking about working hours, I was told that so long as I felt I had done a good day's work, I could leave.
The placement was organised very well. The multiple inductions and training sessions ran smoothly. The placement organisers kept us all up to date with what was going on so we never felt loss and are all super approachable to answer any questions you might have. The sessions and events set-up always felt relevant, were useful and interesting.
I feel like the company invest in its placement students very much. This is reflected by the amount of training it offered to us, often tailored to our needs and uni backgrounds. Additionally, I will have a chance to sit an exam which will be paid for by the company. So, I feel the company does value our personally development and is willing to invest in it.
I would be delighted if I were to be invited back to the company. It's a brilliant place to work for, with a very relaxed working environment and so many different perks. It's such an influential company and particularly working in Research and Development it really feels as though the work you do can massively impact the outside world, which is exciting.
Because there were so many placement students and probably because we decided to live together, we all bonded very quickly and easily, we created a very good social scene amongst us, At times it felt as though we had the social life of being uni students with the work of professional life. Beyond students, with colleagues we also had many opportunities to mingle and socialise.
Southampton itself is fairly affordable. Nothing is outrageously expensive. Rent too is fairly cheap and super easy to find a house. There isn't loads to do in Southampton itself but it is super accessible to many surrounding areas around the south-coast such as: Winchester, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Lulworth-Cove etc...all of which are really nice and easy to get to by either car or train. There have been several social events this year as well such as the community challenge day, Christmas ball and the Christmas quiz for example.
Coming from a university based in a really small town, I was pleased to discover a greater number of clubs. While there are more, the quality of them can be debated.
The music scene in Southampton is quite good though however, There are multiple venues hosting a combination of big names (often in the Guildhall) and many up-and-coming bands (in the Joiners usually).
There are certainly some opportunities in out of work activities, ranging from things such as the 5-a-side football to Cricket. The on-site gym pushes to organise events as well such as the Active Warriors and the Gung-Ho 5km run. These things are always well advertised in either the newsletters or in the canteen so you never miss out. Sometimes people just organise events themselves through email, such as indoor archery or after work drinks etc.