1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed my placement at Mentor Graphics a lot. I feel very lucky to have been placed in a job which values me as an employee, is understanding and has a serious work ethic whilst having a relaxed work environment. Some tasks were tedious but that never lasted too long due to the variety of tasks I had on my plate.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
All of the people on my team I feel valued my skills. As the only quality assurance (QA) engineer on my team, I was the first point of contact for all QA related activities. As time went on, I felt more and more valued due to things like people calling me to ask my opinion on a new feature or someone asking what I thought in a meeting if I hadn't said anything.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I had frequent check-ins with my manager throughout the year and she also asked me how often I would like these check-ins initially so I was given a tailored level of support. My manager was always around to ask any questions to and if she wasn't going to be for a while, I would always be informed in advance,
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Some days I was busy, on other days, I was waiting for work to be completed by the developers so I couldn't do anything. When this did happen, there were sometimes other activities for me to do but this wasn't always the case. It was most of the time the case, but not always.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
As said before, I was the sole QA on my team, so there was a great deal of responsibility I had from the get go. I also had the opportunity to work with a Senior Engineer to help compile and present a Webinar which was streamed internationally. This was a very large amount of responsibility especially since I was able to answer questions on it live after.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Maybe my knowledge of heat transfer is stronger now but since I study Chemical Engineering, the skills I picked up would be more useful to degrees which deal with CAD or coding so Mechanical Engineering or Computer Science. I did pick up a lot of transferable skills though since one of the tasks I had were to create and present video tutorials.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The general atmosphere of the office was one which was very relaxed, quiet most of the time, however, it was common for a large discussion to happen sometimes in the day in the office between groups of people. There were no desk dividers and the office layout and therefore atmosphere was very open.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Overall, the placement was organised quite well. A one month overlap period between the old intern and new intern happens where the old intern trains and guides the new intern so that when the old intern leaves, the new intern can pick up where they left off. All relevant welcome documents and procedures happened.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
At the beginning of the placement we were sent to Towcester for a 3 day training course on how to use some of the software they have at Mentor Graphics. We were also sent to Towcester at the start of the placement to take part in a DiSC training workshop which was useful for any job I'll ever have in the future.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Future employment prospects are appealing in some ways and not in others. If you are looking for a job which has a youthful office with like-minded individuals then this job is not for you. If you are looking for a job which has a relaxed office and family values then this is for you.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was only one other intern in the Hampton Court social office. We went on lunch time walks but apart from that the social scene was pretty dead. Also, I am from London so I always had plans on the weekend and even if I wasn't, I can't see myself meeting up with one other person. On Thursdays we all go out for lunch.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living in the Hampton Court/Kingston area is very high from what I know, however, I can't answer this question too accurately since I did not live there. I lived in South East London with my parents for the duration of the placement but I know Kingston to be an affluent area with expensive living costs. It does contain a lot of students also though so you could probably find some good deals.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Again, I can't answer this question too accurately since I did not live in the same area which I worked. From what I've seen of Kingston, there are a lot of bars and restaurants and a buzzing town centre. There are probably good clubs too due to the student presence.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were no opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work. I was from London and thus had friends and family in London so did not find this too frustrating. Also, since I lived far, it would be hard for me to take part in said activities either way.