I worked for the Structures team in the London office.
I was working on the London College of Fashion in Stratford and on the Centre Pompidou, "KANAL", in Brussels.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The placement was really enjoyable and challenging. The environment in this company is unique. During my time working for BuroHappold I was exposed to real-life projects and handed appropriate responsibility within the team. Some work can be repetitive but knowing the future outcome of it (ie an amazing building is built) makes it interesting.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very welcome and like any other member of the team and also felt like my work was contributing to the groups efforts. I was given jobs that actually were for projects they were working, which made me feel valued as I wasn't just completing pointless tasks. I felt like my work was valuable for the team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was siting next to my line manager so it was very easy to catch up with him and ask him questions - maybe too easy. He was sometimes away for meetings and so I had the opportunity to work on my own, or ask questions to other engineers in the company.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
It depended on the day to day condition of the job. Some days were busy with deadlines to meet and others less. At some point I was working on two projects at the same time so I was never unoccupied. I could discuss with my line manager to manage my time to work on both projects.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was treated much like any other engineer and given my own tasks and jobs within the project teams to design and complete. My work was checked and this was a good feedback and learning opportunity. I was not trusted to communicate with externals on behalf of the company but my work was used by my line manager during meetings with external stakeholders.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I was hesitating between structural mechanics and fluid mechanics or aeronautics. Next year I'll be studying fluid mechanics and aeronautics, and I'll have minor courses in structures. So, it was not a waste of time, I learned how to use different software and succeed in a few challenges. The most important is still my capacity to adapt to a technical field, and I could develop it during this internship.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
This was my first exposure to an engineering office environment. My first impression was very good because people were really friendly. Outside of office-hours, the company readily provided opportunities such as Basketball, afterworks at the park, and other activities. At the office, everyone was ready to help, and was available for a chat, or just questions about the company and the various projects.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The communication with BuroHappold was really good, much better than I had experienced with other companies. Replied to emails quickly, the contract was sent on time and with clear expectations, my location was told to me in good time and when expected. I was not able to talk with HR on the phone but emails were sufficient.
The only "problems" came from my university, not from BH.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
This was highly encouraged to be a personal undertaking. However the colleagues were available to help at any moment. It can be compared to being thrown in the deep end in some respect, which is the best form of learning and development. It seems that BH knows how to choose their line managers to make students feel safe with their work.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The sense that you could work for the company for a significant period is evident, as well as the ability to develop your skills as an engineer with them. The company values placements and their graduate scheme. It is really appealing for someone who is doing his last internship of his studies.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There was a really good social scene amongst fellow interns and colleagues (mostly younger/graduates colleagues). I felt quite close to other interns and graduates in the team because they were welcoming from the start of my placement. We often had lunch together and even met up outside work for friday drinks.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
London is a very expensive but BuroHappold was giving me a fair salary so I could enjoy the life in the city. I had a lots of friends who were interns as well in other companies so it was really easy to live and socialise during this summer placement. Moreover, BH London really take care about that with social event as BBQ, and other meetings.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
London is amazing for Nightlife. I had the opportunity to go in various clubs around the city, and even parties outside the center. Sometimes there was events with BH at the pub or on the terrace of the London office, that was quite cool as well. I highly recommend to save on costs with food and rent in order to enjoy the Nightlife in London.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Of course ! There is the Young Engineers Forum which organises activities as camping, running, cycling, basket ball as well as conferences. The Pride March was during my internship and it was possible to go and march with the company.
Some activities take place during the year so I will not be there anymore.