1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The majority of the work at Cummins Turbo Technologies was moderately enjoyable. As I was always learning new things it kept me interested throughout the year. I was given responsibilities for for some large tasks such as running real tests that were critical to business operations whilst learning core engineering skills like milling and cutting.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
For most of my placement I felt like a normal Engineer, not just a placement student. When I was given work that had real responsibilities I felt like the team were depending on me to deliver. It was great that the company put so much trust in a placement student.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Support was always there when I needed it. Everyone will make the time to help you if you ask. They are professional enough to leave you to get on with your work when you feel confident with it, and don't keep checking on you. However they will step in every so often to keep you on the right track.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Most of the time I had a good amount of work to do. Sometimes if my work load was too light I would seek out more work from the wider team which was very rewarding and gave me a wider range of projects to work on. I also got to experience high work loads at times which was a very helpful experience.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a lot of responsibilities as soon as I was ready to take them on. In each rotation there is a settling in period of a month or two and they will gauge how competent you are and thus what level of work to give you. If you are keen to show that you want more responsibilities they will give it to you.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The core engineering skills that I have learned will definitely help me with a graduate job, more than I could have hoped. The main benefits I will take back to university are the professional and general skills such as organisation and working towards deadlines. I feel like my work will be organised much better now using conventions I learned on my placement.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Hard working environment, so you can't expect people to be chatting all the time. However everyone does stop for short breaks and a quick chat every now and then which really breaks up the work. This also helps to get to know your team better and some teams have weekly meetings just for more personal matters which was really good.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
We had an induction week which set us up on all the computer systems and taught us how the company worked. We had three rotations, each about 4 months long, which meant we had enough time to get settled into a department and then spend a good amount of time on some quality work. It gave us the chance to see all aspects of the business from advanced research to manufacturing.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Lots of opportunity to learn more and develop. There are a lot of training courses that are open to everyone and so I put myself forward for a lot. These range from an hour or two to 3 or 4 days. Along side this I feel like my colleagues have invested a lot of time in me and i have been able to reward them with my hard work.
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?
Cummins have a sponsorship system whereby they may offer you a graduate job at the end of your placement along with £1500 for your last year at university. The number of sponsorships varies year to year depending on a corporate decision and you are directly competing against the other placement students.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There are a lot of placement students here (Northampton). Out of about 30 students there were about 20 who would regularly socialise with nights out and other activities such as a trip abroad and skiing. We also have a large spot in the canteen so we can all sit together at lunch.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived at home with my parents, so it was very good for me. The town is not very large but there are a handful of bars and clubs that offer a great nights out for a reasonable price. The train station is a short walk meaning you can easily get to London and Birmingham, opening up the options for a night out.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
As i live near by I have been going out in Northampton for a number of years and so don't enjoy it as much any more. However for students new to the area there are enough places for a good night out. As it is a Uni town there are always lots of students out and cheap drinks. For better night life I recommend nearby cities such as Leicester and Milton Keynes.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Many opportunities to get involved with activities outside of work. Every employee must do at least 1 full day of volunteering a year, usually done on weekdays. There is a wide variety of organisations you can support and some placement student commit a lot more than the 8 minimum hours, working with schools and charities.