Despite its image and reputation, your work at General Electric isn't exactly thrilling. You'll often find yourself watching the clock counting the minutes until you get to go home. As with most large conglomerates, red-tape, bureaucracy, processes, and workflows will get in the way of your productivity. While this is understandable, it becomes unbearably frustrating when the finish line is in sight but you are held back. At GE Aviation Cheltenham, there are almost 100 interns, apprentices, and graduates so you won't be going through it alone. Cheltenham is pretty dull.
I was often told that a big company will treat you more like a number than an employee, I never believed this until the day I joined. Sure you'll bond within your own team or circle but it will take a lot longer than a year for you to feel like the employees here are your 'family'. Regardless, GE has a good recognition system, so work well, and you will be rewarded.
Most are incredibly friendly. I'm told I hit a gem when I was assigned to my manager, she is incredibly caring, making sure the work we take is beneficial to both us and to GE. We have weekly meetings to discuss what we've been up to, in terms of work and otherwise and frequently have non-work related conversations. She even set aside £300 of her department budget to let us undertake a side project.
You'll never run out of work, but it's really up to you how much time you want to dedicate on a task. Getting started with anything is tricky, you need to go through all the workflows and the red-tape that comes with that means you'll spend a lot of time chasing people and sending e-mails.
Surprisingly a lot. GE Aviation makes critical systems so I'd expect a lot less responsibility, or at least, someone keeping us under their watchful eye, but that wasn't the case. We made programs, demonstrated them at sprint reviews and if it looked like it worked and was doing what it was supposed to, our project manager would just take our word for it. Although, to be fair, our work will be formally scrutinised at some point.
You'll have a hell of a lot of time at work to expand yourself both in terms of your work-attitude, but also academically. Learning a new programming language, watching video lectures, gaining coding practice. It's really up to you how much you want to learn. The resources are all there.
Friendly. It isn't exactly Google with its swings, beanbags and slides but it is a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. There's seldom a sense of pressure on you, and if there is, this can easily be dissipated by asking anyone you know for help. The only time when it feels a little discomforting is when you first join, and realise that there are a hell of a lot of rules you need to follow, and unlike school, there are consequences.
There are about 100 interns, apprentices and graduates just on the Cheltenham site, so there is a dedicated team to look after us. Internally within our own individual teams, things are a different story and it really depends on which projects you're working on and how organised your line manager is.
We weren't at any point under immense pressure to do work, instead, learning and self-development was highly encouraged. Our manager took us off a project because it was dull and not beneficial to us, and we'd spend meetings talking about things of interest to us as opposed to the work itself.
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
Good, there is a scheme here for you to come back if you wish, but beware, it is much more competitive and just because you make connections, does not mean you'll get the job. Although once you join, you have access to a Careers Opportunity System which lets you apply internally to GE jobs around the world.
As much as you'd like. I am personally not very sociable so didn't go out much, but there is certainly activities happening on and off site several times a week. Many social media groups have also been set up so you have a chance to bond with interns from not just this site, but other sites around the UK.
I come from London so am used to the high cost of living. Don't expect the cost of Cheltenham to be any better, in some respects, it's even worse! I planned to take my driving lessons in Cheltenham because of the higher pass rate, but came to the realization that driving lessons were more expensive than when I was in London.
Almost non-existent. Again, I'm not sociable so don't enjoy going out at night, however, even going food shopping or going for a walk in the evenings can make you feel isolated. Shops close at 6 on average and it's a 50 minute walk into town for our site here in Bishop's Cleeve.
Yes, but only GE related volunteering activities. The most notable called GirlsGetSet, which involves mentoring young girls in school to inspire them towards an STEM related career path. There were also opportunities to volunteer at various national and global aviation events such as the Farnborough Airshow and the Royal Air Tattoo.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
22nd January 2019