Test engineer managing a couple of the fired engine test cells at an oil & fuel additive development company.
I enjoyed my placement more than average. Working for Lubrizol was generally pleasant, considering the location of the business, quality and price of the canteen food and my work remit. My work was generally enjoyable, with average levels of responsibility eventually becoming bestowed about halfway into the placement.
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A mixed bag, the engineering and admin staff were very welcoming and friendly, I wasn't treated as the tea-boy and found it easy to integrate socially. Once I was given suitable work the staff in the office made an effort to value what I was doing, as trivial as it is to them. The majority of the operations staff were welcoming, unfortunately on a few occasions some of them hand a tendency to make a formal issue with my manager about my minor mistakes, rather than speak to or advise me directly. At times it made me feel unwelcome, and unvalued.
During the placement I had lots of contact with 'supervisors', on occasion they were genuinely helpful, but most of the time it was simply a catch up. It probably would have been easier to converse with them if I had had more involving work on. On the whole an adequate supervisor system that's not fully utilised.
As with any job it was peaks and troughs, not a steady day to day set of repetitive tasks. If the work I was doing was really interesting it would have been excellent, but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, in my opinion, my projects weren't really suitable for and undergraduate placement student. Either to broad with little direction, or too mundane. That said, I did have day to day work, that fell outside of what you would call a 'project' that was interesting and well supported and fairly regular.
At the start pretty much nothing, I became an admin assistant for a few months. By the end there was certainly more, some if good, some of it too much... asking things of a placement student that would've been better suited to someone with more knowledge of industry processes and better company connections.
As mentioned before, my day to day work, that fell outside of projects, was excellent. Taught me a lot about the industry, the full time job role and how to interact with a wide range of people from different departments. In a twisted way, my experience with some members of staff taught me a lot, a few eye openers to be honest. An engineer I worked with had one piece of advice that really stood out for me, and I will genuinely have with me for the rest of my career, and its this; don't assume that just because someone is your colleague, they are your friend, and certainly don't try to make it the case. Get on with your work, do a good job, don't get bogged down in what people think of you. Some people will never like you, and the sooner you get over that, the happier you'll be.
When I finally moved into my office, after several months of being on a tiny desk across the hall, it was a blast. Shared it with a pair of engineers who were great; good banter and plenty of laughs. I ignored the atmosphere outside of our personal office because it was generally a bit dull, people just getting on with their work. Going for a walk around site would cheers you up, there were certainly some very entertaining characters (in a good way)!
Generally well, need to sort out a project for incoming placements students though. I arrived, waited a few months then something came up. It would be much better to have an idea of what the placement student was going to do before they arrived.
As little as possible. Understandably, I wasn't a permanent employee and there is no direct route back into the company after graduation. I did a presentation to showcase the innovation of a very dry project I worked on, but other than that there was virtually nothing in terms of structured skill development.
Bleak, a small engineering team with a drive to reduce headcount and a very keen previous year student. The only way I'm getting a job is if someone leaves or retires, or I'm head hunted (unlikely).
There was, but I wasn't involved. The majority are chemistry students and they have their own group because the work closely together. Engineering placement students tend to band together with the rest of engineering. Also, in my personal opinion, because I'm an older student I wouldn't have fitted in with them anyway.
Midlands, it was as cheap as chips because everything is grey and used to be something to do with coal mining. I had an hour commute each way because I wanted to stay where I'd lived for university, but it meant housing was cheap.
In my opinion this is irrelevant when considering where to do a placement, you're looking for a good job, not a good club. If you want to go out during the week, stay at uni.
Sports and social club were good, I joined the committee and organised an event, only 4 people turned up (including me), but the could've been my lack of appeal. They put on lots of events throughout the year though, there's something for everyone.