Support integration of diesel exhaust aftertreatment systems onto heavy-duty diesel engines for on and off-highway applications. Includes running test cells, collecting data from vehicles processing data for software and emissions performance and tuning calibration settings in addition to development of test procedures and training packages.
The placement was very enjoyable. I was offered a variety of projects that kept me busy and interested. There was a good mix of "desk job work" as well as hands-on work. The flexible working hours allow you to start work at a comfortable time and any extra hours you spend at work can be taken back as time off.
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I felt very valued both by my team and by the wider organisation who put in the time and effort to train me in various different areas and make sure I was always able to do my best. Any work that you do is highly valued and you are given independence and control over it to run your work as you see fit. Any decisions you make are always respected even by senior staff. There is a community feel within the company to always make you feel welcome and several team-building activities throughout the year.
I was the first student in my role and as such there was no predecessor to hand-over or give me any guidance as the other placement roles did. However the rest of the team and the management did an excellent job of understanding this and providing me as much support as they could whenever I asked for it while still giving me space to put my individual mark on my work.
It varies but usually the work is busy and fast paced. I had to read guidlines for doing a task, use those to prepare instructions to delegate to the test operations department and analyse the data coming out of the test cells, all while keeping my schedule at least 24 hours ahead of theirs. The role also required me to handle shipping of prototypes as well as doing mechanical work to set up prototypes for testing.
I was given a lot of responsibility for a student. I had to run my own project while liaising with several engineers around the globe. At times when team members and my supervisor were away I had to take over their work and take responsibility for ensuring everything ran smoothly.
I have learned several valuable skills that will be very helpful to have as an engineer such as project and resource management, data analysis, risk analysis and experimental skills. I will not be able to use some of the technical knowledge in my degree as the placement was in a different field of engineering (automotive versus aeronautical) but it also gave me an insight into the different career paths available to me as a result of having these skills and the adaptability that I was able to prove as a result.
The atmosphere was very lively and fun, there were several activities organised in the office to provide a break from work. People are very cheerful and always up for a laugh.
I was the first student in the role so it was not established before I joined. The first few months were spent trying to get a feel for what I could do and how my role would fit into the team. However there was plenty of support from my team as well as HR who ran a very comprehensive student development program.
The HR department had a Student development program covering topics such as meeting etiquette, presentation skills and communication skills (which are very important for a large multinational company like this). There were several other training sessions for personal development on topics such as conflict resolution and team-working. A number of job related training exercises were carried out on health and safety topics as well as technical training;
The company hires back a lot of its placement students into graduate roles as they have already spent a considerable amount of resources on student training. There are also opportunities to join other sites and departments as a graduate or as an entry-level engineer if a graduate placement doesn't exist there.
My colleagues organised several social events either as team building events or just to go out and have fun. As students we did not do many nights out although there were other things like the cinema and trips to different cities.
Darlington is a small town so the cost of living is low. There aren't many places to go in town but the places that do exist, like the cinema and a few good pubs and restaurants are inexpensive. Often there are offers on for company employees through the corporate reward scheme that can further help you save on your groceries and socializing.
The nightlife is not much to speak about although there are a couple of good bars and clubs. These do not cater to a variety of different music tastes though. If you feel like it is a bit lacking, then Middlesborough, Durham and Newcastle are not too far away and they are very good for a bigger night out, especially Newcastle.
The company routinely organises several community development projects which have a good variety so there is something for everyone. The company strongly encourages participation in these activites and it is mandatory for every employee to donate a few hours out of their work time for these activities. You are also encouraged to organise your own activities if there is a charity or cause you want to support. Students are enrolled in a separate community team to organise these events.