Supporting the power cable manufacturing processes, improving efficiency of the plant, improving products manufactured, reducing waste
I thoroughly enjoyed my work placement. Throughout the day I was free to interact with anyone around the plant, enabling me to learn a great deal. Everyone in the office was easy to get along with, and a large portion of the office was around my age. Some tasks were mundane, but it has to be expected from being the student.
I felt well valued by my collegues. My opinions would be considered in discussions, and projects I suggested were sometimes taken on. Many of my routine responsibilities were critical to the running of the factory, which clearly showed my value. However, I was left out of some departmental meetings and team discussions.
I could have had more guidance from management. Initially there was a 2 week hand over period, where I was shown around and trained by the previous student. I was then given a small project to carry out. Unfortunately after completing this project, I was left to find my own work and help others in the department.
I was suitably busy on a daily basis. Many of my tasks were non urgent, which meant I could easily prioritise and manage my time. If I was ever overly busy I could always let someone know to try and lighten the load. Often I would have spare time where I shadowed members of the department. Overall I would have liked to be a bit busier.
I was given a fair bit of resonsibility. I was in charge of a number of critical regular responsibilities in the plant. I was also responsible for the design and manufacture of various tools and peices of equipment. Other members of the department looked after an entire section of the factory, whereas I didnt. Although this meant I had less responsibility than others, it meant that I could learn about a greater range of processes.
Although I have not yet returned to my studies, I believe that the skills I developed will assist me a great deal. I did not recieve much expicit training, most was 'on the job'. I have learnt to problem solve in real life professional situations, and I have also developed good skills for meeting goals when working in teams. The placement has also helped me find aspects that I like and dislike in roles.
There was a very good atmosphere in the office. About half of the staff were young (30ish and under) which made it easy to settle in and find common interests. The older staff were also really easy to get along with. The atmosphere was very relaxed and the department manager was laid back which was great. However, there was a lot of moaning about it not being the weekend which can grate on you after a while. You probably get this in a lot of places though.
The placement was set up reasonably well. I had an excellent induction with health and sefty and HR. Then I worked with the previous student as they explained to me all of the resonsibilities I would be taking on. After this there was no set format for the placement, which could have been nice. I very much joined the department and did my own work with little supervision.
I did not do much formal training. I went on a few health and safety courses run by external companies. Some of these courses were interesting, others were not, and I did not recieve any qualifications. Most of the training on my placement was informal. If I ever wanted to use any equipment I could always ask and someone would show me how to use it. There were endless oppurtunities to shadow other members of staff, which was very valuable training in its own right.
I personally do not find future employment prospects at prysmian appealing. I would like to dabble in a few different career paths before I decide on what I want to do. Prysmian is an extremely lean company, so staff are underpaid and often there is not enough capital to follow projects through properly. However, the work is very varied and full time staff have some excellent perks.
At the Wrexham site there are 4 placement students. I have not socialised with the other students as they are in a different office to me, however future placement students could easily mix if they wanted to. Often we would eat out as a department on Fridays for lunch. We also had a few evening get togethers thoughout the year.
I cannot really comment on the cost of living in Wrexham because I lived at home with my parents for the year. However Wrexham isn't a particularly expensive area. The cost of socialising is also pretty average. It is worth noting that the closest bus stop is quite a long way from Prysmian Wrexham so unless you ride a bike to work you basically have to pay for fuel.
Nightlife in Wrexham does not compare to big cities like Bristol or Manchester. However, the town does have an active nightlife on the weekends which can be really good fun if you drink enough! Chester isn't far away which has a more sophisticated, but expensive, nightlife too. I personally prefer Chester's nightlife as theres a bit more going on and nicer bars around.
There was one main activity to get involved with outside of work. Every Wednesday Prysmian Wrexham organises a game of football on the astro turf next door. I personally dont play football so this wasnt much use to me. There is a golf course and gyms under 5 mins away from the site. If you were interetsed you could organise a game of golf regularly.