1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
My project was almost a perfect fit for me, as the software package used was already somewhat familiar to me. The nature of my project also went down perfectly with my engineering background, striking a balance between software and engineering content. Even though my internship lacked the hands-on activities prevalent in mechanical and hardware, I have enjoyed my work.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I was surprised to find such friendly people in a company like BAE Systems. I immediately felt accepted in the office environment. The same can be said about the graduate/intern community, which made me feel really comfortable at work. As a pretty awkward and shy character around new people, it felt fantastic to be accepted so quickly by my peers.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My supervisor provided me with valuable support each time I had a question, providing documents or putting me in touch with senior engineers for certain inquiries. Other colleagues also proved to be of real help, guiding me through the intricacies of the company Intranet or software used in my project.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I feel the volume of work available for me was reasonable, allowing me to be busy most of the time, but without too much pressure. As expected, some days were slower than other, but that was probably purely because of my work load management or task complexity. Overall, I was happy with my work ethics, but I think I could have been more consistent with the amount of effort spent per task.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was tasked with trialling different solutions for a prospective project, as well as providing feedback on certain software solutions; task which I feel bears quite some responsibility. The idea of presenting my findings in front of senior engineers and managers with years of experience seemed daunting at first, but I quickly started to feel comfortable during meetings.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The use of MATLAB/Simulink package during my internship is a "goldmine" for my studies, as my third year projects will require intense use of it. Apart from learning troves of computing - related skills, I felt my time management skills, general work etiquette and document handling techniques were significantly improved. I will definitely step more confidently into future work engagements with these improvements on board.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
My office colleagues made for a sociable, but mostly quiet experience. My desk "neighbour" was a fellow year placement student, with whom I discussed and joked during the day, providing some sort of entertainment to keep me going when the work was occasionally getting monotonous. Apart from that, there were conversations going on in the office, and I sometimes joined in, but most of the time people were silently working at their desks. I don't see this to be disadvantage, as it provided a good working environment.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was well organised. In the first days, we were constantly being provided with schedules and information about our training and induction activities, so I never felt "lost". Apart from a small hiccup when we were left waiting for 40 minutes for a factory tour that didn't happen in the end, I found the organisation to be seamless.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I feel BAE Systems invests a lot of time in training and developing employees, especially as there is a lot of information to grasp on your first days in the company. I can definitely say that I will come out of this internship with new or significantly improved skills and knowledge.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I really enjoyed the community and work at the site and I am definitely up for coming back on another internship and the grad scheme. The only disadvantage would be the location of the site, as it is a bit isolated from other industry/residential hotspots in the country. Very good transport links to the rest of the South compensate for this.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
As soon as I met my fellow interns, I was struck by their quality as people and the amount of socialising going on. As I have mentioned before, feeling immediately comfortable within my group was a fantastic feat for an awkward personality like mine. The graduate community further contributed to the sense of camaraderie. This aspect is a very strong reason for me wanting to come back the following summer.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Accommodation was reasonably priced and placed within walking distance of an ASDA and Chatham Dockside Shopping centre. At the same time, I found myself to be far away from most entertainment or leisure locations, having to scale or go around the Gillingham hills or embarking on expensive bus trips.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
If by nightlife you mean going to bed at 10 pm, then it was fantastic! I am not a fan of going out on a long night and I felt like there not that many opportunities anyway (there have been some nights out planned by the interns on some Friday evenings, but I was always away). Highlights include the Weatherspoons visits with the intern and grad community.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were quite a few opportunities for extra-work activities, especially during Wellness July. Unfortunately, due to me being very tired or lazy after work and the large distance between accommodation and work, I didn't take part in any of them.