Undergraduate Engineer on the Engineering Sponsorship programme (4 yrs).
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My internship, featuring a number of 10 and 19 week placements was very enjoyable given the interesting nature of the work given to me. I was taken on tours of the facilities and had the chance to meet engineers from across the business as well as customers during acceptance briefings. The Early Careers team at BAE encouraged us to actively engage with as many areas of the business as possible to gain a broader feel for roles of functions within the company.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Rather than being seen as a temporary intern, I was given the same responsibility as any other member of the team as was actively included in all of the activities undertaken. Fellow engineers valued the fresh thinking from a younger and less experienced colleague and were happy to include me in their areas of work. Everyone I met at BAE aimed to create an inclusive environment for all of the interns.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
To begin with I shadowed all of the team members when they were going about their daily meetings and work, to become accustomed to the function within the business. This provided a solid base to begin with more individual assignments. Regular workload meetings and performance reviews ensured that I had a suitable amount of work and the support required to complete it.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
For the most part I was fairly busy however there were slight lulls in the amount of work available, due in part to the nature of the function I was located in. There were only a few periods where the whole team had next to no work and even then it was only a matter of hours before new tasks were assigned to us. Flexibility of attending meetings with the rest of the team allowed me to manage my time and complete all of the assigned tasks.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Instead of being treated as an intern, I was welcomed as a fully qualified member of the team. This gave me the maximum amount of responsibility allowed by the function; some tasks required certification and signoffs which had to be approved by a more senior engineer. Even as a Sponsored Undergraduate, I was held to the same standard as any other employee at the company.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I received experience in many areas of engineering and even gained some technical practice using toolsets including CAD and PLM software. Professional experience from working in an active engineering firm has helped compliment my studies at university and has instilled in me a greater work ethic, developed from an interesting and challenging portfolio of work.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere in the office varied from placement to placement. In some more managerial offices, the mood was professional and calm. Working on shop floor however was vastly different with a more relaxed and jovial atmosphere. All of my experiences were good however and I felt I fitted into all of the offices.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was very structured and it was clear that a great deal of work had been put into it prior to the induction day. They were a few teething issues but nothing insurmountable and any recurring issues were addressed centrally by the Early Careers team. As I have completed placements across multiple years, I can say that the internships are refined each year.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company are thoroughly invested into developing engineers for the company and industry as a whole. As a result, training courses and personal development are common and encouraged. The Early Careers budget may not always be able to meet any financial costs of training but usually the placement manager will find the budget to realise and training opportunities.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
At the end of my four year internship scheme I will be awarded a place (performance dependent) on the Graduate Development Framework which is a two year graduate scheme offered by BAE Systems. Upon completion I'd progress into the company in a field of my choice. Due to the size of BAE Systems, opportunities to move to other functions are common and many make the jump between Military Air & Information, Naval Ships and Submarines.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I'm from the local area so I was able to live at home whilst undertaking my placement. A lot of the students on 10 week placements stayed in local university halls whilst those here for the year have found houses in the immediate area. Preston is a 15 minute drive from both sites in Lancashire and Manchester and Liverpool are close enough for those that want more nightlife.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?