I thoroughly enjoyed my time working at Cummins Turbo Technologies (CTT). The company runs a rotation scheme so that placement students get to experience three different departments within the company. This provided me with an opportunity to experience different aspects of the company, from working as part of a project team developing new products to helping maintain the test facilities on site. There was a group of approximately 10 engineering placement students in my year so it was easy to develop friendships with people in a similar situation.
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I felt very valued by my colleagues, I was given a chance to carry out meaningful work that had a real impact on the work the company was undertaking. Everybody was extremely friendly - the culture at CTT is extremely positive, someone is always willing to help. I had the opportunity to work both independently and in a team on important projects.
The support I received varied slightly between departments due to the different management styles of the people I worked with but was overwhelmingly positive. All of my managers arranged regular one to one sessions to discuss my personal and professional progress. I was also given the opportunity to join the monitored professional development scheme and take steps towards becoming a chartered engineer.
On a daily basis I generally had plenty of work to do. All of my managers were wary of giving me the right amount of work to do and always encouraged me to speak up if I either couldn't cope or wanted to take on more work. There were points where the level of work dropped slightly due to how busy the department was in general. Also I occasionally found myself at a loose end while waiting for other departments to carry out their work so that I could continue with mine.
I was given lots of responsibility on my placement. I worked within teams on key projects developing new products for the company and was then given the responsibility of managing the testing we were planning on carrying out. This let me develop my problem solving skills as I was the main point of contact between the lab and my team so the first person to find out about potential problems. I also had projects that were solely my responsible such as areas of lab improvement.
The skills I developed were key to working as part of an engineering firm. Learning to work with people internationally and cross functionally was key to maintain positive progress. I got the chance to develop my technical knowledge of the company area (turbochargers). This will link back in to the final year of my degree.
The general atmosphere was focused but relaxed. The dress code for most departments was business casual (e.g shirt, suit trousers but no tie or blazer). Many teams engaged in relaxed chat at points throughout the day and it was encouraged to discuss your work with people to obtain an outside opinion. There were often social events planned within the office like a pizza and 'pub quiz' lunch or an Easter egg decorating competition.
The placement was well organized. After receiving my offer I was invited to a 'meet and greet' day where I got the chance to meet other placement students and have an informal chat with my new manager before the placement started. During my first month I was given a detailed training schedule to give me the knowledge I needed for my placement. There were some issues with providing IT hardware and work badges. I didn't receive a laptop until the end of the first week and had to use a temporary visitor badge for the first two weeks.
The company runs regular training sessions focused on areas within the business that all workers are free to attend. They also provided me with a mentor for the monitored professional development scheme (MPDS) run by the iMechE. MY mentor helped me write the quarterly reports needed for this scheme and identify areas where I was lacking experience.
The company takes on a group of graduates every year, many of the graduates that joined while I was at the company had previously done a placement with Cummins. A company placement is something that they look upon very positively. They also provide some placement students with a job offer once they have graduated and sponsorship throughout their final year (provided they accept the job).
There were approximately 10 engineering placement students and another 10 in other departments around site e.g. marketing, HR. All of the placement students were friends - some of the students lived together in Huddersfield. The students very often met up to go out for meals or nights out to neighboring cities like Leeds.
I worked in Huddersfield, a northern, student town. This meant that everything was very affordable. The rent is reasonable and there is lots of student accommodation.
Huddersfield has lots of good restaurants and pubs and a few student nightclubs but can get a bit boring if you go out every weekend. There are student nights in some of the clubs if you want to make sure you're out with people of a similar age. It is easy to go for a better night out in places like Leeds because there are trains that run all night.
The company has a sports and social club that regularly runs events like theatre trips or holidays. They also provide subsidized classes for activities like swimming or badminton.