Aiding and performing development work, testing, logistics, CAD work, analyses and organisational admin.
The placement was very enjoyable. The work load was not too great, but I felt I took part in and aided a lot of important ongoing projects. I joined the bespoke engineering team and felt completely accepted as a member, never as an outsider. Chats between colleagues were always fun and interesting to listen to and join in.
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My colleagues always appreciated having a helping hand around. There were always jobs which would have been repetitive for someone who has worked there a while, but could provide valuable learning experiences for a student. I often had to transport, or collect development parts to/from suppliers in Coventry, Brackley, or the Mini plant in Oxford, as well as conducting development tasks, tests and analyses myself.
Before I started, I was asked to send an email compiled with the things I wanted to do, areas I wished to improve in, parts of the business I was keen to explore. My manager then created a plan for the year to cater to my goals. This plan included inter-departmental mini-placements within the company, tasks and workshops to develop my skills and fun experiences which only Rolls-Royce could offer - such as riding in the cars. We created a plan for each week during regular weekly one-to-one sessions, then discussed and reviewed past weeks' events as well.
Workload was moderate, I never felt too stressed about tasks I had to complete. I generally started around 8:15am and finished around 5pm, except for days when I was working off-site. (E.g.: supplier runs, testing at the Mini plant in Oxford etc.) I really enjoyed having the evenings off, as opposed to student-life, when I often have to finish a report, prepare for a quiz etc. I was able to concentrate more on personal interests and hobbies as well. (Sports, music, exploring the area etc.)
I was fully responsible for my individual projects, these included: testing, creation of quality assurance documents, assembly and adjustment instructions, sorting out the logistics of development parts, sourcing development parts etc. I received a lot of guidance on projects where I had shared responsibility with other engineers and felt I could also sometimes share fresh knowledge with them which I picked up from recently studying at university.
I suspect the experience I gained will aid me more beyond university, than during the remainder of my studies. I got valuable insight on how a multinational company works and how it's structured, I have tailored my team-working skills for such an environment, I will feel more comfortable with future interview processes, and will hopefully be able to put to use the technical know-how, as well as the tricks I've picked up during my placement.
The atmosphere was cheerful and friendly, but professional when required. Team morale was generally high, with a couple unavoidable dips over the course of the year. Monthly team-building events provided an opportunity to get to know each other a bit better, to form deeper relationships than purely professional ones and we got to find out about each other's interests and hobbies. Team-building events included go-kart racing, clay pigeon shooting, bowling, lunch at the Goodwood motor circuit etc.
My manager created a plan of tasks for me to complete and learn from for the whole year. The completion and organization of these was generally up to me, but I was always supervised to ensure we stayed on track with them. Beside these, I functioned as a helping hand in the engineering team and always had requests from colleagues, which were my own responsibilities. These spanned from design work, to organizing transport, testing development parts, creating, modifying or fixing development tracking documents, revising and following engineering processes etc. I could, however, always ask for help or suggestions.
I received a lot of suggestions, tips and tricks from colleagues, as well as company perks. I developed my CATIA CAD skills via guidance from my colleagues, was given suggestions regarding management techniques and skills by my manager, furthered my Excel VBA knowledge via working with other interns and co-workers and had the opportunity to practice my German due to the international group of interns.
I will definitely be on the look-out for graduate, or full-employee opportunities with the company once I finish university.
The social scene among students was better than I expected. There were events on all the time, weekends, as well as weekdays. These included nights-out, go-karting, indoor wall climbing, trampolining, BBQs, going to the beach, or even going on a long weekend for a hiking trip. The students were all friendly and smart - I formed many lasting friendships and hope to meet them again later in industry.
My rent was about £430 per month and I could buy groceries relatively cheap due to living next to a big retail park. I could walk, or cycle to work, but bus tickets for commuting are refundable by the company. Parking is a bit sparse, but the company is currently working on building a new parking lot, to provide more spaces for employees. All-in-all, my monthly living costs rarely exceeded £900.
Nightlife is a bit sparse if you are looking to go clubbing. The nearest places for that would be Brighton, or Portsmouth, but this didn't hold back the interns. There were multiple house parties, pub-nights and the occasional trip to bigger cities.
There are opportunities to get involved in sports - football, rugby, running, cycling, wall climbing, gym etc. There's a cinema club within the company. There are multiple parks, to go for BBQs, or just sit outside and read, listen to music, etc.