Cryogenic Equipment & Applications Customer Engineering Role: assisting the European team with Equipment queries and sizing, as well as Safety and Documentation Projects
I really enjoyed my placement overall! I had initially been a bit apprehensive, since I'd never had any industrial experience before. I feel I've really grown in both knowledge and confidence in myself, so I gotten a lot out of the placement.
My colleagues knew that I was new and relatively in experienced, but I was never looked down on for that. They were extremely generous with their time and wouldn't be annoyed if I asked them questions. Eventually as my knowledge in areas grew I found myself being asked for help, so I was able to witness my own personal growth which is a great feeling!
I was asked to take part in outreach activities and just give general assistance with tasks, as well. It made me really feel like I was part of a team, as opposed to someone who is just here for the year!
My manager had a particular leadership style that I really liked. He trusted me with enough responsibility that, when giving me a task or project he would sit down with me, give me the necessary information and set me off. I liked this because (whilst working to a deadline) I could work out how I wanted to do this project without any micro management,
We would sit down every week or so, and I would run him through where I was with everything. He would then either advise what should happen next, or ask what I thought. I really appreciated that, since it showed he valued my opinion
The area of AP I was working in was extremely dynamic, so there were days that I could be focused on a single project, or I would be juggling multiple smaller tasks. I liked this as it kept each day different and stopped me from feeling stuck on one thing. Also, when you halt projects and come back to them later you often get a fresh look which really helps!
The responsibility I was given reflected on the project I was working on at the time. With smaller non-safety related projects, I had quite a lot of control of how I approached them, and my manager would be happy to have basic summaries of what I was doing.
With safety/legislation projects I worked a lot more closely with my manager, as this was lot more serious and could have repercussions if not done correctly. I however preferred this, as it gave me an extra set of eyes and support on the more difficult/technical work
The gas industry is pretty specialised, and since I did an engineering degree there were definitely gaps in my knowledge. However, I found a lot of the concepts I learnt at university often came up and really helped when looking at certain gas concepts.
I think the biggest things you learn are about how to conduct yourself as an engineer in the workplace. So, things like being aware of Hazards and Safety, which efficiency and productivity are so important, and how to speak to customers as an engineer. As a colluege of mine put it "Have confidence in the knowledge you have, but know the limitations of that knowledge. If you don't know something, ask someone, and get a certain answer". These are such vital skills, that you cannot learn in university, you can only learn by doing!
I was the only (one year) intern based in my office, they had a few shorter rotations and some graduates as well. Everyone else was full time staff. Whilst it isn't the busiest office I can honestly say that it has been amazing to be here! I took the time to try and get to know everybody and there isn't a single person I haven't gotten on with!
Whilst being a professional workplace, the feel among the employees is very relaxed with one and other. You can tell everyone here has worked together for a while, and I feel super privileged that I got to be a part of it!
There is always cake when it is someones birthday! There were several of us who would get together at lunch and (attempt to) do the crossword! It was a lot more fun than it sounds!
You can tell Air Products has had a Placement scheme for a while, as there is a lot of organisation that has gone into it! I would have fairly regular chats with HR about how it was going, and was I happy where I was.
They also initially had us sit down with our new managers and map out objectives and learning targets for the year, and at the end we would review these in our appraisals.
We had a lot of training, both technical and general skills (Hazard awareness etc.). So I felt that I was really invested in! They wanted to know if I was going for chartership and then recommended activities (outreach etc.) that would assist in this, and were also keen to show what graduates get out of their positions. They were keen for us to learn about the business, so it made it feel like they were really looking to show us what our future could be like with AP.
Air Products has really impressed me with how they run the business and the way they take care of their employees. I know it isn't perfect, but very few companies are! They have shown that they are willing to invest in their placements and their graduates and that really appeals to me!
I would love to be offered a place on the graduate scheme, but I will have to keep my fingers crossed!
As I said, I was the only placement in my office, however, I am not to far from the main office where the rest of the placements are! So I often got over there for activities and nights out!
They have a 'Council' for the graduates and placements that organises activities and they have come up with some really good stuff!
I'm from the North, and moved down south to do this placement. I was aware there would be a significant jump in price!
Living costs, were as I expected, I found it cheaper to find a room mate and move into a 2 bedroom apartment, but bill were still fairly pricey. I did start my placement well into my overdraft, but managed to get back into + money within a few months. The wages were enough to cover rent and bills and leave me with disposable. But I don't expect to come out of my placement with a profit (not that that is the reason I did it!)
There are some pretty nice pubs and such about, which was fine for me! If you are into the more 'energetic stuff' you might have to go out further! However, on the train, Waterloo was about half an hour and Reading was even closer!! Plus since there are a lot of late trains running (often til 1am) you can take your time coming back!
I joined a Badminton club as soon as I moved into my apartment, and honestly it was a great decision! I even ended up celebrating my birthday with them! There was loads of sporting stuff around, and a Leisure park with bowling and Aquadrome nearby, so I've never really been stuck with anything to do outside work!
And like I said, London is so close I often spent my Saturdays there!
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Placement Year (10 Months+)