I have been given the task of developing software using the Vector tool CANoe which will communicate with the valves created by the comany which will further be put on trains around the globe. Due to its complexity, I will be working on this throughout the year however I will be working on smaller projects and jobs when I have the time. The projects given to the Software Engineering Student will differ year to year.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Really enjoyed it. The company have a friendly approach to new students and they make you feel like you are one of them. The work the students do is genuinely critical to the workings of the whole office. We have regular socials with the rest of the students and we often go on nights out in the Bristol or Bath. The food is delicious and well-priced too! (which is most important)
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I have personally been valued very highly by my colleagues. I got sent to Munich for some training and with this knowledge, I had a leading role in reaching a major milestone in a big project. I am already being set to start my next project working with other students in other departments.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
The company understands that they cannot micro manage us and we are in our element when we are given a task and we are to make a solution. They value this knew fresh knowledge coming into the company as there have been people working here all their lives so having a fresh pair of eyes is greatly appreciated.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Some days were busier than others, but that is the same for any role in the company. Luckily for us, if we have a lot of work which courses us to work more in a week than 37 hours, we can accumulate this time and book a day off in the following month if we would like (flexi time),
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The work that I completed before Christmas meant that the project that most of the engineering department was working on could reach its milestone. The software I was told to create meant they gave me a lot of responsibility as if the milestone wasn’t met, the whole project would have fallen behind schedule (and a lot of people would have been told off!).
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The software I was sent to Munich for training will without a doubt never be used in my Computer Science course ever. However, the skills and understanding surrounding both the software and the project will have a massive impact on my final year. It will also greatly improve my work ethic. When I was at university, I would leave my work till late afternoons and evening which were cut short by other commitments such as socials and my job at uni. Now that I am waking up early every day, working longer days to get flexidays, creating the to do list every morning with goals I set out to achieve during the day, I can take these skills and techniques and carry them onto my final year.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office is nice and open. Evryone is willing to say hello and ahve a chat and it is great to see everyone working together really well.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very well organised.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
At the start of the year, all the students got sent to a hotel in Sweden for some training in working with people in the company and looking at our own strengths and weakness, solutions to these weaknesses and team building activities. They then sent me to Munich to the Knorr-Bremse headquarters for some training in a software called CANoe which was pinnacle to a big project in the company.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
They take on around 25% of students (give or take) after they graduate for a grad scheme. It depends on if there is a role available and if you have worked hard enough to become a real asset to the company.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
We regularly have socials and go on nights out in Bath or Bristol.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Very mixed. If you want to live better for a cheaper and with other students but do NOT say you are students as they will not take you on in a shared house/flat. The best thing to do is say that you are moving to the area to work for KB. My year struggled with this but managed to still find places for a decent price. If you can drive, I would suggest living in Trowbridge. If you don’t, you can still live in Trowbridge as there is a regular bus the goes past the office. If you'd prefer to live in the city and don’t mind getting up early to drive and miss the heavy traffic, then Bath or Bristol. Bath is more usually more expensive but closer. If you still like the city life but can’t drive or prefer to live closer to work, Trowbridge is the best place as there is a train that goes through Bath and Bristol every half hour so the city is very accessible.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Night life is not bad in Trowbridge but always have a good time due to the people I work and go out with. We often go out in both Bath and Bristol where I either stay at someones house or share a taxi back to trowbridge and the surrounding villages.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are lots of different sports groups that take plae on different days of the week.