1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my time working as part of the Structures team. I found that it gave me a great insight into what the job of the structural engineer practically consists of, what it means to do a 9-to-5 office job, and how actually useful my university studies are in practice. The people I worked with were always nice and helpful. Moreover, socials were organised more or less regularly on a weekly basis, which I believed really helped with getting to know my colleagues better.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
As an intern, my colleagues were very understanding with my lack of experience in the field, and gave me tasks that would suit my level of skills - or that would challenge it a bit, which greatly helped in learning and developing my skills. Obviously they would need to review my work and correct it, and would give me helpful feedback.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was always given support by my colleagues, and could always ask for help, whenever I needed to. I found that everyone was very helpful and willing to clarify my doubts - not only the engineer who gave me the task to carry out, but everyone else in the team, as well.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I found that there were low and high points. Some days I would be very busy, some days I would have very little to do. To be fair on the team though, my internship coincided with a relatively quiet time for them, too.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given some level of responsibility, but I was never left alone in the task. For example, I had to design a building that will actually be built, based upon my calculations - which I believe, denotes a certain level of responsibility. Obviously my design was double-checked by my colleagues, who also guided me through, whenever I had a doubt.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Hopefully to a great extent. I believe this experience was extremely valuable for deciding what to do after my final year. Moreover, it somewhat helped 'giving more sense' to the theoretical notions I learnt at university, giving more of a 'great picture' to what I have been studying for the past years, as well as the physical concepts of structures.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It seemed to me that everyone was quite chilled. The office space is shared with another office, so there is some variety in the kind of people going around. Within the team, everyone would be working hard on their projects, however, the atmosphere was never tense and everyone was quite friendly.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The internship lasted 8 weeks in total, during which I worked on several projects and with different people. I would be given tasks to carry out, whenever anyone had some extra work. There was not a proper structure it that sense - it really depended on the overall workload of the team.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
During my internship, I had access to a wide range of structural analysis softwares, with related training material, which was definitely very useful in developing my knowledge in the field. The work I was assigned also helped in this sense, as it furthered my skills and taught me a lot about the topic.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Quite appealing - I found that this internship was very useful to grasp the general feeling of working within this company, and I find myself happy with it. The international locations of other offices is also a very good incentive to come back, and so is the prestige of its projects.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes - the company features a forum for your engineers, which is open to anyone below senior level (interns included), and has its own budget to fund different activities, such as lunchtime talks and social events. Moreover, on a more or less regular basis, drinks would be organised after work on Fridays.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Unfortunately, Edinburgh is notoriously an expensive city, and during the summer - especially during the Fringe Festival season, prices increase in further. Obviously, being on a paid internship helped in this sense.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Since I was in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival, there was always something going on in the city, and plenty of opportunities to go to a show and see something different, in a variety of different locations. Many pubs and bars in the nearby also offered valid alternatives, as they would be decorated for the Festival.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
A group of keen cyclists in the team would organise trips during the good season, and some activities would be organised for the whole office to take part in. For example, a summer barbeque was set up during my intership, as well as a Fringe show night, and even an Intern bowling night.