1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my placement, I found it extremely rewarding and enriching process that I hope will hugely benefit my career in the future. I particularly enjoyed the lab side of my placement, allowing me to design experiments and see them all the way through to results. I was also lucky enough to visit the Netherlands site which was a huge privilege and a great learning experience.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very valued, I felt that by working hard and showing enthusiasm was really rewarded with responsibility and opportunities. I was given many opportunities to write up reports and present the work I had done and be awarded full credit for my work. In addition to this the office was a very friendly place that was a pleasure to work at.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was given plenty of support and always felt I could ask questions no matter if they felt simplistic. I was given plenty of support, especially at the beginning of the placement where I needed more help. As i progressed on at Tata Steel I felt more confident so felt I needed less support but it was always there when I needed it which was a huge comfort.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
On most days I was very busy, I was able to become an activity leader quite early on and this meant I had a high level of responsibility and had a good level of work. My work often included a mix of desk work, lab work and meetings. This was really good to keep days varied and busy.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a lot of responsibility once i had began to felt comfortable and settled in the placement. I was able to become an activity leader which was a great privilege and a really good learning experience. It was a bug responsibility and I had to ensure work had been done on time and work was integrated well with other activities within the project.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I feel the skills I developed, especially within the lab, will really help me with my final year project of my degree. As well as learning to balance my time effectively and work to deadlines without someone checking you all along the way. I feel these skills will also help in my future career, as my soft skills have developed a lot including presentation skills, working in a team and leadership skills.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
In general it was a very happy place to work, everyone was extremely friendly and it was one of the rare places I work where everyone truly gets on with everyone. There were moments in the office where the atmosphere could be a bit negative due to changes in the company at the tie (potential sale and merger) but the people there still felt like a team and the negativity was not directed at us but rather the situation. In spite of that people made a real effort to move past it and make the best of situations, organising social events and team building events such as a treasure hunt around the site with a BBQ afterwards!
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The set-up was okay, this cohort was the first set of placement students through and so some kinks were still being ironed out and I think the new set up is much better. The main issue came from communications between the office where I was based and HR departments that all had slightly different roles in our inductions (such as being unsure of work hours and exact building locations). However on arrival our desks and inductions where all ready and we had a weeks worth of activities to get us settles in, such as inductions and meetings to learn about different projects that were ongoing.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
A fair amount of investment was made; I was trained on many different instruments including SEM, magnetic domain viewer, furnaces and corrosion tests. I was also given plenty of practise presenting work and writing reports. I felt that Tata Steel had the attitude of investing in people early, both graduates and placement students. TO develop their skills and education so that in the future they would be the perfect person to return to the company.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Quite appealing, there are good incentives for returning and the graduate scheme has good feedback. They provide many opportunities for graduates and training opportunities. The only draw back is that it may be beneficial to wait for the company to settle down slightly after the many different changes that are ongoing including setting up of a new site in Swansea.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was, especially as more graduates joined. There were frequent trips to the pub where we often tried to built the landlord on the pub quiz machine. There were also nights out and plenty of trips to play pool. All of which really enriched my placement experience and made it a much less daunting change at the beginning.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
THe cost of living is reasonably high however my university is in Guildford so this was not something that daunted me. Socialising again in comparison was very cheap and being based on a university campus meant that the SU could be used along with other student perks.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
It was okay, it definetley is better for pubs and bars than clubs. For a big night out, especially if clubbing is what you are after though there was always the option to go out in Birmingham which was very good as well as a night bus that runs to Leamington Spa, where a lot of students are and is great for nicer bars.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Not too many for me personally. If you were very sporty there were gyms, sports clubs and a running club. There were also a lot of runners in the office which was easy to get involved in, I was one of the members that took part in a 5K as part of our corporate team which was a huge achievement and something I wouldn't have done without the motivations from my colleagues.