I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year, it was a great introduction to working in a large company and allowed me to experience the internal workings including the different sectors and jobs involved with running such a place. I met many wonderful people who helped me with my projects and encouraged me to try as many different areas of work as possible.
I was treated as an equal throughout the workplace which meant that I was given tasks that were worthwhile and also contributed towards the completion of projects etc. Everyone were helpful and offered guidance if I ever reached out for help. Many gave their time to helping me through a new piece of work or test method I would need to use and made sure I was happy with my work.
I had weekly meetings with a mentor which meant I had time to discuss any challenges I was facing with work, I found this incredibly helpful especially if I was starting out on a new project which involved concepts I wasn't familiar with. It was also a good time to reflect back on the work I'd achieved as the year went by.
I would always have something I could be doing, be it some individual work, testing of samples for a project, design work, prototyping, etc. which meant that I was rarely bored. This also helped with prioritisation since it meant that I'd have to regularly review all my projects and determine which work needed to be completed first.
I was given a good amount of responsibility. I had projects where I would lead investigations into different products or components, some team projects where I would contribute through doing tasks such as the prototype design for the product or testing of manufactured product. I was relied on to produce good quality work within the required timeline.
I have learnt so much about how a large company functions and I've picked up valuable skills along the way. I have learnt to prioritise my work, and how to time-keep. I am much more able to converse with employees, customers, manufacturers and this has also helped me relay information in a way that is tailored to the understanding of the recipients. All the training I have received has also helped when it comes to presenting & the way I introduce myself. Technical training has introduced me to the likes of Minitab which is an excellent tool for data analysis and representation. All these skills will be extremely helpful in my further studies and future employment.
The lab had a good atmosphere. Everyone was professional but weren't overly serious at all times unless the situation called for it, therefore it was always a nice place to walk into in the morning. I was able to sit at my desk and do work, go to the development lab to work on prototypes or use the test labs and there would always be a friendly face to help if i needed.
The placement was set up well, the interview process was well organised and allowed us to have a taste of the workplace before we started. We had a lot of support from the company before and during the year, and had 6 month and 12 month reviews to look back at the work we had done and to discuss our time. The company has had many placement students come through therefore they had a lot of experience with how to include us and that was evident!
Throughout the year we had many sessions that involved either training on specific subjects that would be useful for us, or development opportunities to enhance our knowledge and to better ourselves overall. I found all these sessions useful and it showed that the company cared about our learning and what we gained throughout the year. If I did wish to learn more about a certain programme or subject there was a wide variety of training available that I could sign up for and participate in.
The company is great in terms of offering a wide range of employment, as well as opportunities to move between sectors. This makes it appealing since it doesn't mean I would always have to be doing the same thing. I believe it is why so many people within the company stay for as long as they do.
Being in the North meant that living expenses were low, which was great! There were a few good bars in the area therefore we had opportunities for socialising, the cost of food and drinks were average in the area and there were plenty of countryside and beaches (with great ice cream) to explore around us.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
3rd October 2018