As part of my role at Plant Oxford, it was always stated that it was important for me to be a full working member of the process team, as well as carrying out my designated project. Therefore as part of the day to day work as a Process Laboratory Technician, I carry out standard paint process tests such as well as sealant adhesion tests. Before the paint is applied to cars, I also check the viscosity of paints to check it falls within set specifications. In addition to this, I perform a variety of rheology tests on both PVC’s and cavity waxes which are used when manufacturing the cars. I also assist with the ordering of laboratory materials as well as general admin work required to keep the laboratory fully functioning. As an integral part of the process team, I have also been shown how to use a variety of equipment.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The workplace was a really good environment to work in. I managed to see a lot of areas and how to utilise my degree.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My colleagues were really helpful and very supportive. They always offered guidance and advice when I was completing jobs and my project.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I had regular contact with my manager on a one to one basis and was always asked whether I was okay personally as well as in the job.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
My work was very varied and not repetitive. Some days were quiet and others were busy - this reflected the true work environment as the jobs that came into the laboratory always varied.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given some generic admin jobs and ordering to do and was also left to my own devices to complete jobs. This made me feel like a valued member of a team and not like I was a student.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Being a female and working in a predominantly male environment, I learnt how to confidently represent myself and put myself forward in discussions and jobs. The work involved both office and laboratory work and I learnt to balance the two as well as see the importance of both sides of my role. I also learnt how to tactically think about problems that came into the laboratory to successfully complete jobs and offer advice where necessary. Thinking outside the box will help me in future careers and I will not be put off by minor aspects of a job.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It was very relaxed and friendly.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
My project got off to a very slow start but due to brexit, financial issues and many other smaller factors - it took a while for my official work to start off. However, having said that, I was shown a lot of other jobs that other colleagues carry out which I wouldn't have had the opportunity to if my project got off to a swift start. This was a great insight into the official job roles others carried out and how everyone worked together to complete investigations sent into the laboratory.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was trained on a lot of the instruments in and around the laboratory and was also offered fire extinguisher training. However, I was unable to do this as it kept getting cancelled for a variety of organisational issues. My team pushed me in the right direction and brought out knowledge I was unaware I had to utilise it in my everyday job.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Although there are opportunities within the BMW Group, there appears to be a preference to apprenticeships. Having said that, there are a variety of graduate programmes available but these are very competitive.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The interns regulary met up and did social activities together - the intern life is a big thing at Plant Oxford!
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Oxford is quite an expensive place to live in general, but with the wage offered and the luck of finding a good house at a good price, I had plenty of money to enjoy the social aspects the city had to offer.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I'm not a nightlife person so can't comment on this, sorry!
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are plenty of gyms nearby and lots of events in and around Oxford with many places to visit and attend.