1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I am 3 months into my 12 month placement as a Systems Engineer with BAE Systems and I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. I am part of a modelling, simulation and analysis team within a larger project developing new world-leading technology and having the oppurtunity to contribute to a project like this is very rewarding. I would enjoy this placement even more if there were more oppurtunities to see the systems I have been modelling in action.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My manager knows that I am capable of completing the objectives we have agreed together, so I am left to work individually and work towards completing these objectives which assures me that the company has faith in me. I feel valued knowing that my work will be very beneficial to the company and other members of the team working on the project. My colleagues treat just like any other member of the team and company.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My managers have been very welcoming and are always happy to answer any questions or help me through any problems I have. Other colleagues are friendly and are also happy to assist with any problems. My manager is often out of office or in meetings meaning I'd often have to set up a meeting to go through problems I have as opposed to just being able to walk up and ask.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I come into work knowing what I have to do each day. I am not given any daily or weekly tasks but my manager has set out long term objectives that I work towards each day so I always have plenty to do. There was less work when I initially started (due to having to wait for IT goods and services to be received) but I have never gone a day without having some form of work to do and due to the flexible nature of my work, I have never been overwhelmed by having too much work to do.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I am the only person working on this particular aspect of the project so I know that I have a lot of responsibility to produce models that are accurate and of top quality, especially since my role is very important within the overall project. Despite this, my manager is not expecting standards of work higher than an industrial placement student should be capable of which relieves the pressure a bit.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I am now much more experienced in programming as I have taken courses in MATLAB and Simulink whilst working here; I have also had the oppurtunity to learn how to use the game developing software Unity as well. I have not had much oppurtunity to develop my leadership or communication skills much so far, but I believe this will improve further along the placement.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
I am working at the Great Baddow site and although the people here are friendly and there is a pleasant atmosphere, it feels very much like a professional office environment with everyone busy getting on with their work. The canteen area is pretty small and not many people eat there, but a lot of people go to the local shops during lunch for something to eat which is nice to go to with a few colleagues.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
My project is quite well organised; there is no definitive end goal but the fine details of what I should be producing are being made clear as I go along. The overall placement was setup pretty well too with the previous years placement students introducing us to the company and how it works (although they were only around for a week before their placements ended). Receiving IT proved to be a major problem with laptops not arriving for over a week and other services also taking a lot of time to set up meaning that I could not start properly working on my project for a few weeks.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company have invested a lot into my work, having sent me on a Simulink course and investing into getting me a license to a piece of software that will assist me with my work. This rating would be a 10 if only the company invested in providing free tea and coffee in the kitchens! (Although I think my site is the only one which doesn't provide this)
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Very appealing. If I perform well, I can be given a conditional offer (in the same field I took a placement in) and a bursary from the company, provided I achieve at least a 2:1 at the end of my degree. If I wanted to work in another area within the company (and I perform well on placement) then I will be put straight through to the assessment centre.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Unfortunately at my site, there is only one other industrial placement student, and two people on the graduate scheme which makes forming a good social scene pretty difficult. However, this has made it pretty easy to get to know them all pretty well and become friends with. The company are trying to increase the number of younger people at this site by increasing the number of graduate roles here.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I commute from home (in London) so I do not get the same experience as the other graduates/placement but I know the closest city (Chelmsford) is pretty cheap (at least compared to London) and has decent transport links to London and other areas. I would say this area has pretty average prices for everything.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I haven't been clubbing in Chelmsford whilst on placement, but having talked to another graduate, they said it wasn't great and they preferred to go to London instead. Since it only takes one train to get to London this isn't such a bad idea if you live in central Chelmsford, but because transport around Chelmsford town is poor, it might be difficult to get back home after a night out.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Some colleagues here at the Great Baddow site organise a monthly football match at the local astroturf or indoor sports hall. It's great fun as its a friendly kick about with some competitiveness still. However, if you're not into football, there isn't any other out of work activities at this site. I am sure bigger sites like the Portsmouth base has many more activities to get involved in though.