1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The projects I am in charge of or working on are always different. It's never the same thing so you don't get bored. I think that's very important to enjoy your placement. You learn a lot - working along tobacco I learnt a lot about chemistry which I knew nothing about before. The environment at BAT is great - everyone is super friendly. You meet a lot of different people - unique characters.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My team consist mostly of scientists so me being an engineer and we are working with devices, I think my knowledge in engineering are valued. You will always bring something for the team. I'm very good at finding a relationship with two unknowns and understand how or why something works in a certain way. I tend to do a lot of derivation and calculation to give them a theoretical value. I think that's something they value the mot.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager is the main person who supports me throughout this placement. I always go to him for advice. I think I got very lucky with who my manager is. He is super friendly and nice. I can always go to him no matter what. Having a good relationship with your manager is very important. BAT does ensure you have a mentor but unfortunately for me I only met her once.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I'm always busy. The department I work in works in a very fast pace. I need to ensure I keep it with it. I tend to do a lot of overtime because we have strict deadlines but I personally like the pressure so I don't mind it. Depending on the projects I will do 7-12 hours a day.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Depends how you look at it. Since I'm in charge of several projects, I am responsible for anyone that contributes to that project. So I will say a lot. I need to ensure everyone knows what they are doing and how. I need to ensure all the data gathered are presentable. Since we have very strict deadline there's no time for error. If there's an issue, I need to figure out how to fix - a quick fix.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Communication, written , team leader and presentation skills will improve a lot and those are the most important skills to have. So for my future career this will help me a lot. I have immensely improved my modelling skills which will be very useful for my finally year in uni and for my future career. You will mostly improve your existing skills.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Everyone is very friendly. They treat you like any other employee and not a student. No one will look you down or treat you differently because you are student. To be honest most people might not even know you are a student unless if you tell them. You can ask for advice and help to anyone in any department and with no doubt they will help you.
I have not come across anyone who was rude or unpleasant to work with.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very well organised. We had an induction in august (couple of weeks before we start) and we met all other students and current student so you can ask them any question. You will also meet your manager, some team members and it gives you a tough idea on what you will be working on. This induction in august does give you time to find a place to live and see Southampton.
In the first two months you will have a lot of induction about the company and the business mostly about different department (what they do), cigarette and devices out in the market. This was great and very useful since you learn a lot about the company.
Getting your laptop might take a while, not more than 2 weeks (hopefully). That could be more organised since the company knows all student will arrive months before we actually start. If you don't have your laptop you might be stuck reading a tobacco book (the bible of tobacco), I was lucky enough to start working in the lab as soon as I started.
Those induction does help you ease in into the work life. They don't throw you straight to work.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I think that really depends on your team and department.
The company will ensure you get Minitab (statistical software) training which was very useful for me since I need to do a lot of data analysis.
You will get training on the devices, machinery and software you will use on a daily basis such as GC, smoke engine, density meter and many more.
I was lucky enough for my team to send me to a 2 day AutoCAD course so I can improve my modelling skills. They spent roughly £1000+ on that course since it will help them and be useful for me.
You do have the opportunity to apply for internal courses but most of them you will have to pay yourself - the most useful one are very expensive.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I don't think BAT has a job for me - for what I want to do. I rather explore my options.
BAT is a great place to work for but in my department (developing electronic devices) we tend to hire external companies to design and test several aspect of the devices so I rather work for those companies instead - they do all the work. That's one of thing I was mislead about, I was told I will be part in the design of the product but you tend to just manage those external company.
As an engineer I want to work hands on, on the design, electronic and mechanical aspect of the device and unfortunately BAT does not have the internal resource to do it themselves.
Maybe in the future if I don't want to have a proper engineer job, I will consider coming back. Like I said it is a great place to work.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Everyone is very friendly so you will make a lot of friendship. Within your team, you will go to restaurant time to time if someone is leaving or specially occasions. The company itself will organise event such as Christmas quiz, Christmas party etc.
Social life with colleagues and other student is great. everyone gets along.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I personally think it is cheap (rent, travelling and socialising) especially compare to London.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I am not a party person so I cannot answer this question
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?