Driving process improvements to manufacturing packaging lines and continous improvement projects. Working closely with management, operators and technicians to increase efficiency of the lines.
My placement offered me a variety of work and allowed me to see many departments with their own unique challenges and projects. I enjoyed this challenge and breadth of work available to me. I personally however, did not feel that the placement matched my expectation of work for a Mechanical Engineer, given the placement was detailed as a Mechanical Enginering placement. I would say it suited Manufacturing and Chemical Engineering better. Overall, the work was of high quality and despite being different to expectations was fulfilling.
My colleagues at 3M instantly made me feel welcome. Within days, I had settled in and could talk freely about work and my life outside of it too. There were many opportunities for socials with my team and beyond, and this was helped by the friendly atmosphere when having lunch together. I took part in all socials I could and really felt as part of the team.
The majority of my work at the start of the placement was scoped out with my supervisor, who not only gave me projects but gave me the skillset to find potential improvements by myself. In a highly regulated pharmaceutical industry which I was based, I often found I needed supervision at the start to understand what I could do and how to be compliant.
My work here did have the tendency to be sporadic bursts of productivity and project work, mixed amongst days where I would be waiting on other people's responses and signatures. I had a few days where I was non-stop and felt like I was being suitably challenged. The average day would normally consist of desk work and progressing documents, then spending time on the line to find more work or the right people.
I had responsibility over purchases, recommendations for new equipment, process improvements, running project meetings and several key deadlines. There is a useful system here that tracks your work closely and helps you set realistical deadlines but these are monitored daily and you are expected to deliver to your word. There were rarely times where I wasn't allowed to make a change.
My degree and studies beyond this placement will definitely be aided by the skills you innately develop in a working environment. The theoretical skills and knowledge I learned won't be as beneficial to my degree, as the position I was in didn't reflect my modules accurately, but the timekeeping, organisation and confidence to make changes will be critical to my final year. Looking back at the start of the year I can tell that my approach to work and larger responsibilities has become more refined and professional.
The office was light-hearted and friendly. Even in times where work was challenging or stressful the mood would stay positive and help alleviate any difficulties. There was a strong sense of comradarie when it was tough and a sense of celebration when things were sucessful. I always looked forward to being there the next day.
The work placement was well organised. My department was clear and the management I had was set well. I knew which areas I was involved in and what work I would be taking on. All placement trainings and opportunities were planned well in advance with a few minor cancellations. The only reason I wouldn't rate higher is due to the lack of lateral movement within departments meaning that the placement could feel quite restricted.
I was extremely impressed with the amount of training received. There were a whole variety of events offered all around the UK and accomodation and travel was booked well in advance. These would last for some weeks or be scattered amongst several days. The training was with all the other undergrads and graduates. Personal development was responded to quickly. If I mentioned an area I wanted to learn more about I would be given the means to.
Future employment is definitely appealing. I wouldn't return to the site I was assigned, or if I did it would have to be in a different role or department. As this company is so versatile there are many opportunities around the UK to find a role that fits. I am confident that somewhere I would find work that is more suited to me. As a company I know I fit well and would be excited to stay.
Whenever the placement students gathered for training activities or events, there would always be a social alongside it. There were only a few major gatherings from across the UK but these were always accompanied with a social opportunity. Locally on site, we would arrange meeting up as we all lived close to eachother.
Loughborough was a very cost-effective place to live in. The rent was cheap and the house was larger than expected. There were a surplus of supermarkets nearby ranging in price from Aldi up to M&S. Pubs and restuarants would vary from takeaways to dining experiences. If you wanted to spend more to get more you could, but if you wanted to live on a budget you also could.
The nightlife in the area was strong for pubs and bars. It only held about 2/3 clubbing nights and that is taking into account if you could get involved with the University nights. The majority of nights were also held on weekdays as well which could be seen as a turn off. All the bars and pubs were friendly and had a lively vibe.
I didn't join any activites outside of work and all I was aware of was a local football team. I personally don't enjoy football so felt like I was severely limited. There were no musical clubs as far as I could see. There were a few poster boards around which offered local events but no one else at work seemed to be involved. The graduates would either join local gyms or go home with their spare time and older employees would go home after work.