Placement is interesting and engaging although as the quantity of work fluctuates throughout the year, there are large periods with little to do. The nature of the business means that work can sometimes be quite exciting. There has been opportunity to visit different sites to get different experiences, although only within the company (ie no opportunities abroad)
Colleagues quickly made an effort to make me feel part of the team and it did not take me long to feel well embedded. I have only had one incident in which I felt different due to being a student and not a full time worker. Everyone is very kind and friendly
The team that I am working with are very supportive and helpful and I feel very at ease with asking lots of questions even the ones that can feel a bit stupid. The overall company management does not seem very interested in my existence but I have not particularly needed support from anywhere higher than my team.
The workload varies throughout the year as all the projects are issued and due at the same time as each other. This means there are phases with lots of planning, then a big lull while everything is waiting to be signed off and approved and then busy again for practically completing the projects. This means that if you only get 1 or 2 projects then you can have a lot of spare time with little to do, meaning that when work does arrive, you are much less motivated to do it.
The level of responsibility was good as there were reports that I had to write that were rather important to the future decisions of the business. Although everything was thoroughly checked before issue, I was allowed to do the work myself. I was also allowed to lead a quantity of practical work (although the safety policy means that this is never done alone)
Many real world "soft" skills were learnt on placement, some of which will be invaluable when returning to do group projects in final year and when starting a career after. In terms of the engineering, there was little that is directly applicable to university studies other than the ability to lean and adapt quickly
Office atmosphere is generally good, there is always positive noise going on, and nobody minds if you need to have a break and a chat for a bit as long as you are sensibly about it. There is also a relaxed attitude to booking holidays and flexitime means that no one will be told off for being late
My department was expecting me, although my line manager and her manager were away for my whole first week, meaning that after initial setup, I had very little to do and no one was quite sure what to give me. After the first week, everything worked much better and it felt much more like I was supposed to be there. Things like a laptop and security pass were sorted on the first day and I had access to all the IT systems by the end of the first week
Time was taken by individuals to explain things to me even though it may not be directly in my remit. The company has allowed me to go out on events as well as to take time to go and be part of a focus group for the institute of explosive engineers which is extra curricular work not directly involved with the company
A future career seems like a good prospect. Although there are flaws, they are the same as others have reported from other big companies and effort is being put in to address these issues. My only issue with returning is the location of my site, rather than anything to do with the company as a whole
As the site is in the middle of no where, there are a variety of cities that people are coming in from, so doing lots of socialising is difficult. However, there are some social activities and there are groups that belong to the same gym/ sports team. There is of course the work Christmas party and also a less formal party too
While the area I lived in was not particularly cheap, however, there were opportunities to live in cheaper areas available. As the site is not very near any cities (although accessible from many), it is very much up to the individual to choose what they need from a location and what price bracket they are looking at
Nightlife very much depends where you choose to live. If you choose to live close to the site there will be nothing at all, but if you choose to live further out, there is a good night out scene in the nearby cities. It is very much what you choose to make of it
This very much depends on what you choose to put in. I was very quickly able to find a hockey team that colleagues went to and to find my own dance team. However, f you don't actively search for activity, you wont find any. There is also a free on site gym
Placement Year (10 Months+)
24th September 2018