1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The internship was overall a very enjoyable experience. I was involved in a real-life project that involved working with cutting edge equipment and a trip to France. Everyone in the office was very friendly, with a nice working atmosphere and several social events. If you’re interested in CAD/CAM, I would definitely recommend it.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I was given a project to run with another intern, which we largely did independent from our other colleagues. Having our own project from the start, with real clients to work with, made it feel as if we were making a real contribution to the business (rather than just doing busy work).
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Regular feedback on my project and work were given by my manager, but there was no formal review process in place. Each intern was provided with a mentor, and it was up to you how much you used them (except for a couple of scheduled meetings). There was an internship wrap up meeting - this was mainly to talk about the future.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Managing my own project meant that most of the time I was kept busy enough. On a few occasions, the timescales in the project meant that the workload dipped. However most of the time there were training, events or courses to help fill the void. Additional work could always be sought if necessary as well.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
With my fellow intern, we ran a real project almost from day one by ourselves. We reported to clients and our work will go on to be used in a major civil construction project in India. The outcome of the project was entirely based on our efforts, and so the company placed a great responsibility from the beginning.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
It’s hard to tell, as I’ve only just returned to university. The technical CAD skills gained will be useful in future roles, but are not utilised too much in my course. The project management, communication, client relationship and time keeping skills I developed will be invaluable - both at university and in future jobs.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office was very relaxed with friendly and welcoming staff. Interaction between departments was good, with an anniversary party organised over my time there. Most of the employees were very social, with intern and grad socials organised several times over the 10 weeks. The canteen was always a good place to have lunch with the other interns and grads.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
After receiving the offer, I received a few emails from my manager discussing what my project would be and what it would involve. All the interns received inductions and training during the first week, with more established training courses throughout the internship. As mentioned previously, there was no structured feedback system set up however.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
All interns received an induction into the building and company on day one. Interns in my role normally then have two weeks of training in all the Autodesk and Delcam software. However, I only had a few days training on the software I would need for the project, due to the time it would take to complete it. Further training on additional software was given ad hoc when the need arose.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Future employment prospects are definitely appealing. The graduate scheme involves 4 rotations around different departments (the internship was essentially one rotation). There is also the option to take one of these rotations in one of Autodesk’s offices in America. The work they do is varied so you should always be able to find a role that will suit you.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Students and graduates would meet in the canteen every day to chat and have lunch. Social events were organised throughout the ten weeks, all paid for by the company. These included frisbee golf, pub trips, meals and an escape room. There are also social clubs such as football and climbing. A chat service called Slack is used to communicate with colleagues from around the world on a number of topics.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
There are no reasonable places to live in the immediate vicinity of the office. Most interns lived in the Selly Oak student area of Birmingham and then commuted. This usually involves two (short) trains interspersed with walks. I was lucky enough to have a car however. Selly is a student area of Birmingham so everything is relatively cheap.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I’m going to be honest, I don’t really go out, so I can’t answer this very well! However, it is in Birmingham, meaning it’s only a short journey to many clubs/bars/restaurants/other social places. When I went out for meals with colleagues it always seemed nice to me - as long as you know where to go.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
As mentioned previously, there are clubs such as climbing and football, as well as the socials organised. There were probably more I didn’t come across. The company seems the sort of place where, if there was the demand for it, they would help you set up your own club or activity.