1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I greatly enjoyed my placement year with AECOM. I worked in the structures team and was given a reasonable amount of responsibilities that I often found challenging but rewarding. Sometimes there would be no suitable jobs to work on which meant there could be a few boring days but mostly very rewarding.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Although it took a couple of months to be completely familiarised to the AECOM system and way of doing things, eventually I was able to be a valued member of the team and colleagues did usually appreciate that. All work was checked by senior engineers but they were generally happy with work I completed.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Both my direct manager and other senior members of the team were always happy and willing to help and would regularly give good advice and instructions. Typically, a few of the senior staff in the team acted as supervisors depending on the project and their expertise. I always had somewhere to go to ask for advice.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
After the first month, which mostly consisted of training on various software, I was kept busy pretty constantly on 3/4 projects at a time. My utility each week was roughly 80% but there were patches when there was no project work and I would then be asked to help with odd jobs around the office.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a good amount of responsibility that grew throughout the year. I was asked to attend meetings and speak to clients on my own and towards the end of the year was given my own structural design jobs. All work was checked before being issued but most responsibilities on the smaller projects were mine.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The structural design aspects of the placement were certainly invaluable to my degree, Civil Engineering. I became knowledgeable in structural design software and other drawing software such as AutoCAD. I was also involved in the finance and management side of projects which I believe will be very useful in the future. I was allowed to attend many CPD events paid for by AECOM and also given funds to get a CSCS card which is necessary to get onto construction sites in future. The training is down to managers discretion so although my experience was good, it would depend on you personal line manager.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Plenty of social events were organised throughout the year and I attended a number of fun activities, mostly paid for by AECOM. there was also plenty of opportunity for volunteering with other colleagues. The general atmosphere in the office was good and everyone was friendly during the first few weeks especially.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement was set up reasonably well. There were some teething issues with getting PC equipment at the start but this was sorted fairly quickly. AECOM has good procedures in place for placement students and it was fairly simple to go through the starting and leaving process. IT support could have been better.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
AECOm have their own 'online university' which has to be completed a few times a year. This counts towards the H&S development. Companies often came into the office and gave CPDs which were particularly useful. I was also given much informal training by various members of staff. It was possible to ask for training and the manager could approve and fund through AECOM.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Good, I was unofficially offered a job on completion of University.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
For the majority of the year I was the only placement student in my team so there was little social activity.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Paying for a car to drive to the office was the most expensive part of the year although for any site visits, the petrol money was refunded. If there was ever a site visit it was also possible to claim back lunch and various other expenses. My office was in the South West where the cost of living was comparatively low.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I stayed in the city I went to university so the nightlife was no different.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There was often email chains circulating about various events organised by members of the office. From football to sailing I did take part in a few. There was also site visits to new and interesting developments. I would recommend a placement student attending as many as possible an it is easier to work with colleagues you see socially.