Certain parts very much so, there are some very good aspects to the placement overall especially the placement co-ordinators, but for an engineering student I’m not sure the Next Generation Products sector at BAT is the place for me to be as so much of the innovative design work is done externally. For the most part I got on well with others in the team but it has been a busy year for an understaffed team, with various launches happening and a less than ideal amount of time left for planning useful student development and training.
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I was made to feel like I had something to offer and that I could be trusted with important work, so long is it didn’t require very much technical skill beyond the training I was given in the first month or so of the placement. At one point I was given a long term project by my line manager only for this responsibility to be taken away by a senior manager about one week later.
It’s hard for one number to be very reflective as an answer to this question. I’ve had a few line manager changes, and the first manager was very supportive and offered some great advice and guidance. Since then there hasn’t been anywhere near as much support and communication within the team has been somewhat of an issue. I was fortunate enough to be set up by my initial line manager with a long serving Engineer at BAT as my mentor, who has supplied and guided me through an exciting process engineering project.
Ranged from not at all some days/weeks to very busy at other times, depending on the work going on with my team. There is a big emphasis on the project work undertaken by students at BAT but many are just helping their team with whatever comes up during the year, so as a result I ended up volunteering some of my time to assist with work being done by a team in a different department at BAT.
I was often left to do the work I had been asked to do on my own under my own time management, so mostly just tried to get it done quickly but well. I was given the chance to do a lot of testing with some new prototypes which was quite exciting. Recently I have been asked to train a new starter on the work I have been doing throughout the year so far, but I was not given any forewarning that I would be asked to train them until the day they started, so I wasn’t given any time to plan how best to do this alongside my own work, and I feel I could have done a better job if communication weren’t such an issue.
My time management and soft skills have improved thanks to the activities arranged by the placement co-ordinators throughout the course of the year, which will be useful in any future job applications and career changes. I have been exposed to software such as Microsoft Project and Minitab which might well be useful in my degree studies and beyond. The training on specific laboratory equipment has obviously been very specific to the tobacco industry, but I think it is more important to be a quick learner and adapt to new situations and using unfamiliar equipment quickly.
Overall everyone has been very friendly and you’re bound to find people that you will get on well with or have similar interests to your own. Everyone has seemed very approachable if I’ve ever needed a little help or support with something. The office layout has changed during my time at BAT to allow for teams to grow or restructure but it was all done as smoothly as possible. There was a lot of loud and disruptive work done in the office over a period of about 2 months which wasn’t ideal.
The team in charge of organising the student placement scheme at BAT do an exceptional job and any positive or negative feedback that the students have had seems to have been taken on board in their ongoing effort to make it the best that it can be. There was an Induction arranged a few weeks before most of the students began placement which gave everyone a chance to meet and arrange housing with each other. The team and initial line managers seem to have worked hard to allow for a smooth and easy transition for the students joining BAT at the start of their placement and have regularly tried their best to make sure that students are doing alright with their work and fitting in well.
Not very much to be honest. I was involved with the same introductory sessions that all new starters at BAT are invited to. During my studies, I have done a lot of CAD work but despite my managers knowing this, I have found out too late about various CAD courses that have been run both at BAT and externally which would have been a huge benefit to me but I was not told about them even though many other students this year with similar backgrounds have taken part in these courses. Also during this placement, I have been excluded from meals with the team and visiting partner companies which was not the case with the student previously in my role. Training on more complicated equipment which would have saved time in the long run was not been provided.
Seeing as I have done most of my work within the Next Generation Products team but one piece of work has involved working closely with members of two teams with the combustibles department, there isn’t a straightforward answer. I don’t think NGP has anything to offer me right now as the type of engineering work in that department is very much quality engineering and checking the work that they have paid another company to do. For me it isn’t hands on or involved enough. I would be interested to see what job opportunities come up in other departments but I have learnt that it is important to find out exactly what kind of work you will be expected to do before agreeing to anything at BAT, no matter what is implied.
Yes, I’ve built up some good friendships thanks to this placement, especially with the fellow placement students, some of which I live with and others I have seen outside of work quite a bit. Apart from a few big events in December and one or two birthdays/stag dos I haven’t gotten to know many other colleagues outside of work very much but I haven’t really tried anywhere near as much as I could have.
Reasonable. £350 each a month for a decent enough house with 4 of us living in it. A little more expensive than home but not bad for the south, it is Southampton though so not as nice as Winchester or Bournemouth but it doesn’t come with the very high cost of living either.
There are some decent bars and good restaurants but they’re few and far between, but the city is quite small and easy to try different places and find somewhere you like. There are a lot of chains, but there are some places that are actually good in amongst them. I haven’t been to nightclubs anywhere near as much as I would back at home, they sound average at best in Southampton to be honest.
Occasional meals, an apparently well organised 5-a-side football league, but not my thing. Most Fridays some of the staff at BAT seem to get together at one of the nearly bars. Early in the placement a lot of the students took part in a community day working on a nearby farm which was a lot of fun. Outside BAT, there’s plenty of sports and activities going on in Southampton and the surrounding areas so it’s easier to keep up with what you like doing or find something new to try.