1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I very much enjoyed my year with British American Tobacco and would recommend the placement thoroughly to anyone who has the opportunity to apply for it. The job was interesting with sufficient course-related work, and the 'softer' side is to be expected with anywhere. The placement was varied and I travelled with work around the UK to suppliers & other sites, as well as having trips to Europe. The one downside was the location of the placement - Southampton isn't very nice.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The team in which I worked was comprised of both managers and third party technical experts. As a result, I ended up getting a good insight to both the business side to working from the management and there was extensive technical help available from the contractors when I was working on degree-related technical projects.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was not very busy for the first three or so months, however this changed as the year went on and by the end of the placement I was usually very busy, working on multiple projects at any one time. I occasionally stayed late in order to finish work, although there was no expectation that this needed to be done.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
For the first few months of placement I had no individual project that I was responsible for, however after four months I had two relevant technical projects that were mine. In addition to this there were projects that although not being relevant to my degree still proved to be a challenge to complete.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
It has been valuable to spend time in a large organisation as it gives you the chance to see how things happen in industry (ie working with people from different business functions). In terms of course-related training I attended a week long training course for the CAD package that the team used. This was the same software that I had previously used at university for two years and I learned so much more in the five days than I had at univeristy.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
I was in a fairly small office with a maximum of ten people - the atmosphere was generally quite informal, people were happy to talk & provide help. Some days were busier than others and I was at times the only one in the office. There were almost always people to talk to in the adjoining workshop if the office was empty.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement scheme at British American Tobacco is well run, with interview/CV/presentation skills workshops organised through the year. There was an induction day in the summer preceding the placement followed by a meal and drinks to get acquainted with the other students & those responsible for the scheme. Hotel rooms were provided in Southampton and we spent the next day looking for houses/flats. Although a lot of student properties had already been taken, there was much more availability than I had expected there to be given we wanted to move in within three weeks.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I never got the feeling that I was a placement student "just here for a year". I had five days of CAD training at the start of the year which were very helpful, a two day introductory course to control systems programming and a statistics course on Minitab. In terms of personal development, I had to give presentations several times during the year including a final presentation to the manufacturing team.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Healthcare from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There is no formal mechanism for transitions from the placement scheme to getting a graduate job as the nature of the work that is going on is always changing. We have been told that graduates who have been on the placement scheme are typically looked on more favourably when applying to come back. Once employed the future prospects are very bright within British American Tobacco.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes there were over ten other placement students.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Living was pretty cheap, eating out & drinks weren't particularly cheap.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Nothing special, everything was quite spread out which involved long walks or a lot of taxis.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Other than team meals every so often there was nothing other than a couple of sports teams.