I've enjoyed certain aspects of my job role during my placement year. Some of the likes of leading my own projects, managing and prioritising my time. The Emerging Talent Program has also helped me in communicating more effectively. However, I never really worked as part of a team, my team is made up of mostly everyone doing there own projects, so I don't get to improve in that area like source control and using a methodology to management everyone's time like Agile. Finally the projects are not that interesting and a lot of them are very similar, most of the time just replicating what you did for the last project to a new project for a different division.
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I would hope to think I was of value to my 3M colleagues but in my opinion it's hard to know if I actually do, I don't think I ever received a good job (not that I was looking for it) but it is nice to know I am doing well, I think this is partly my own thought on not bringing this up in meetings or actually asking my colleagues how I'm doing and what I can improve on.
I have received a couple of STAR Bronze awards for helping out around 3M where it doesn't relate to my job and also volunteering etc.
My Line-Manager was great, we would have informal weekly meeting in which we would discuss what I was doing, how I'm managing my time and any problems I have relating to the work or just in general. The meetings were really helpful and if either of us couldn't make it, it would be rescheduled the next day.
I would also like to say that on more technical problems during my programming projects, everyone in the team would be more than willing to help out on a problem and would also look on what I've done and give there say on how they would of done it. The team is made up people from different programming and skills background so there was always someone that could help.
The first quarter of the year I was very busy due to a new project starting, once the first phase of the project finished, there was quite a lot of down time, but I was able to pick up some other projects which were completely different and more programming involved. After the first project progressed on to the next stage I always had something to do, I would have a list of projects to be transferred to new applications, this list was around 33 different 'mini' projects, so I was able to manage my own time and juggling multiple projects at the same time while making sure I was prioritising important projects. On a couple of occasions I would have to put everything I was doing to one side and start on a new application which was immediately required.
I believe I have just as much responsibility as with any of the other members within my team, which really made me feel like an employee of 3M instead of a 'temporary placement student'. My first project was changing the way how we send very important/confidential documents, so I had to quickly brush up on my C# skills to make the changes and to liaise with the other departments that the documents relating to.
The first half of my placement I was helping out with many C# applications which is great because that was the language taught at my university and would help going back to my final year. Unfortunately more of this type of projects were not available and I started doing more SharePoint Workflows and SSIS Projects, which are both great to learn, but I don't think in any way that it will be helpful in my degree and in the future.
You also get to be part of an emerging talent program, in this you have workshops around the UK, such as presentation skills training, effective communication training, Lean Six Sigma training and you also get to run your own STEM event for a local school. These skills really helped me to become more effective in my communication and will be very helpful for the future.
The atmosphere was friendly, all of the offices are open plan and my floor is really quiet but I actually prefer that as it is easier to get on with work as compared to other floors in Bracknell where everyone is talking or on the phone. There is always someone's birthday in which they broadcast emails to get your hands on some cakes. Although my team doesn't go out for lunch or go down to the canteen, there was always other IP's that you could hang out with at lunch.
The placement was very well organised I received a 2 week handover from the previous IP in which they manage to handover all the projects they were working on and how to carry out certain tasks. After the two weeks of handover I was well equipped of knowledge of the processes of 3M and ready to start my own projects.
During the assessment centre I was told I would go on various training courses such as SQL, C# and SSIS training. However, due to budget cuts all of my training was cut, however I did manage to get onto a C# course about 7 months into my job... This just meant I had to use a lot of help form the internet and to ask other members of the team.
I would love to work for 3M again in the future but not in the same job role.I would like to rather experience a different area within 3M IT. I am also aware that 3M stopped the Graduate Scheme, there are other gateways into 3M though. If the job role was right for me I would happily come back to work for 3M.
All of the Placement students got on very well and there was an opportunity to meet up outside of work for social activities. My team only organised a Christmas Party, this was the only other time I've seen my team outside of the office, but everyone was friendly enough and there were great chats throughout the day.
I didn't live with the other placement students as I already planned to live with a university friend also on placement. We lived in Sandhurst and we probably spent around £135 a week (bills included). I think it is pretty reasonable for how nice the area is, it is an inconvenience if you want to go out with the other placement students as everyone else lives in Reading and the last train home is at 23:15.
3M is located in Bracknell which I've been told is lacking in nightlife. Most people would organise going for drinks in Wokingham and Reading, as myself and others did not live in Reading it was quite an inconvenience as I would have to early to catch the last train. Reading is a great city and lots to do.
The 3M Bracknell Sports & Social Club was always being advertised throughout the year giving you opportunity to join Badminton, Squash, Football, Golf, Tag-Rugby etc. 3M also organised a Christmas Party, Summer BBQ, Quiz Night, Fireworks display.