1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Good level of responsibility, although would have preferred to work on projects that had greater impact on business performance. The quality of your mentor makes or breaks the experience from this perspective.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
When stepping in for my manager, I felt respected by colleagues and trusted to make decisions. However, there are times when more menial tasks are delegated to the interns. This sort of work would best be done by an apprentice.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Guidance was good and my manager was very encouraging. However, some mentors were very proactive at giving their interns responsibility and pushing them to lead projects, whereas others were more inclined to give interns the less interesting tasks.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Operations Management is very busy, there's always a production task to attend to or a process to improve. Difficult to get bored if you're interested in the product of the company.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Chaired important meetings, led the main intern (cost out) project and felt that my opinions were respected by management.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
There's a structured curriculum tailored to your development, opportunities to get professional certifications (e.g. Lean Six Sigma) and general freedom to explore interests elsewhere in the company. I secured a summer internship elsewhere and had quite a few interview offers on the back of detailing the skills I'd gained at GE, so coming here is a great facilitator for future careers.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Depends on the division you're placed in, but generally friendly across the site. It's less of an office job as most of the day is spent working on projects or alleviating production issues.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Structured curriculum with multiple training courses across the year, a 6- and 12-month review session and a pitch to Senior Leadership about the main intern project everybody is expected to implement during the year.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I became a certified Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma, although I had to push management to let me do the course. Opportunities for personal development through formal training courses are limited but there is a lot of eLearning available.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
GE is a conglomerate and the Aviation arm is the strongest performer. Opportunities to move abroad to another site or move internally are plentiful. Interesting graduate development schemes like the OMLP provide very competitive training.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The social scene is what you make of it, like any work place. There were 40 interns at our site so opportunities to meet up were good.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Placement was based in Wales which is particularly cheap. I'd recommend areas north of Cardiff if you want to rent particularly cheaply as the train network is comprehensive and cheap in South Wales.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Cardiff has a good night life.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Limited relative to university, but there are a couple of annual events such as the Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge. There are also opportunities to mentor school students and get involved with the charity committee if that suits your interests.