1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
From the very start, I was given a wide variety of work and responsibility. The work environment at Buro Happold is very friendly and relaxed, with multiple social events organised during my time here through the Young Engineers Forum organisation. Despite only being an intern, these events were free and very enjoyable, and I had a great time socialising with my colleagues.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Obviously, as an intern, not all of my work was the most vital or complex part of a project. But I always felt as if my colleagues appreciated everything that I was doing, and gave me more interesting and engaging work whenever possible. They were always available to provide clarification and help with any problems I may have had, and made my time here very enjoyable.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My supervisor was always available when I needed advice or clarification, but I was also given free reign to work independently if needed. I never felt like I was prevented from proposing my own ideas, or treated dismissively. Instead, we would have open discussions about how best to proceed with a project, where I was treated equally and my opinion was valued.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The vast majority of the time, I had things to be doing. As I operated somewhat independently, I did have to use my own initiative to talk to other members of the team in different offices to find work to do but there was always something to be getting on with.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
From my very first week, I was trusted with time sensitive work of a fairly significant nature. As time went on, I was given more responsibility, to the point where I was responsible for producing an entire waste management strategy for a development with an 8 figure budget, with only a cursory evaluation of my work by my supervisor prior to sending to the client
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills I have developed during my time here will greatly assist me in my remaining studies, primarily through developing my time management skills, confidence in my own ability to work independently and trust my thoughts, and my knowledge of environmental considerations in modern engineering developments. The same applies for my future career.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was very enjoyable, everyone seemed to like working here and got on well with everyone else. Lots of socialising after work, both organised and more spontaneous. Highlights include getting a chinese takeaway delivered to the office and then going bowling, the endless free pizza ordered to the office for lunch, casual fridays each week and leaving work 2.5 hours early the last friday of the month
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship was organised well, I came in and met my team several months in advance of my placement to discuss my interests and what I wanted to get out of the placement. On my first day I was told to arrive at 10am, when I was given a laptop and told to complete several standard health and safety forms. Everything was well organised
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I had no experience in the waste management field prior to starting here, and whilst there wasn't any formal training courses or anything, my line manager was more than happy to teach me anything I needed or wanted to know about the industry. In other disciplines, it seems that formal training is widely available
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The graduate program here seems very well organised, and an attractive prospect. I will definitely be applying here for when I graduate. Promotion criteria are well set out and available for anyone to view, with a clear structure that rewards those deserving of it. The company is expanding all the time, with exciting opportunities on multiple continents around the world
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were another 4 interns during my time here, and we all partook frequently in the various social events that were organised. There is an organisation within the company called the Young Engineer's Forum, which anyone below senior grade is automatically part of. This is given a generous budget by the company to organise social events, and they do a very good job
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I already live in Edinburgh, so additional rent was not an issue for me. However, in comparison to other non-London areas, Edinburgh can be quite expensive especially during summer due to the Fringe Festival in August. There are student areas which can be significantly cheaper than others, and I would fully recommend them. Primarily located in Cowgate and Newington
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Very good, especially during the Fringe Festival. A ton of pubs, clubs and events venues. Literally thousands of comedians, plays, and arts shows going on during the Fringe. Typical licensing hours outside of the Fringe are until 3am, during the Fringe this is extended to 5am
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
As previously mentioned, the Young Engineers Forum provides ample opportunities for socialising with work colleagues in a variety of fun and interesting events. During the Fringe, there are too many events and activities to count, providing endless choice. The culture in the office enabled socialising, with it virtually unheard of to stay in the office past 5.30pm