1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed my placement at Mentor greatly. There were many opportunities to get involved with different projects, and I was strongly encouraged to spend time learning new concepts, and sharpening my skills. It was an extremely rewarding experience knowing that the work I have done during the placement will have a direct impact on the product.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The working environment is extremely friendly, and there is no hesitation to ask for help between the different teams. I never felt like my opinions were undervalued as an intern, and I was given responsibilities for relatively important tasks. Everyone in the office is treated with respect, and I did not feel unimportant.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Our manager was very helpful throughout the placement, and was keen to give us a good placement experience. He would try to tailor the work given to us to our interests. For example, I had an interest in learning programming, so I was given chances to provide some bug fixes, or work on automation.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
As a quality engineer, my workload varied greatly throughout the year. Some days it was fairly calm, so we were given the chance to work on projects we are interested on. However, as a release approached, we could have a lot of work to do in a short period of time.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a lot of responsibility, being in charge of documents and files that would be visible to the customer. Furthermore, there were many projects which I could work on alone, or with a fellow intern with little interference. Generally, it was enough responsibility to feel motivated, but not so much that I would feel swamped.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I have a developed a large number of skills both in the context of engineering, and working life in general. The engineering and coding skills I have learned will definitely come into use in my future course modules, but I have also gained inter-personal skills, and attended workshops on how to boost productivity and manage time, which would be useful in a career perspective.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Generally, it is an extremely open and friendly environment. There is a clear drive to work, and everyone is motivated to do work, but you wouldn't feel nervous asking for help to a senior engineer, or management. There is no blame culture if something goes wrong, and people are always willing to help.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Overall, the setup was good. We were given a month to learn from the previous interns, and get up to scratch on what our roles would be. We did start our placement at release times, meaning there was a lot of work to do. This was good in the sense that we learned a lot quickly, but it was also daunting to have so much work so early in on the placement.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We received training on understanding our own, and others' behaviours, and how to approach different people accordingly. We also took part on team-building exercises, and a workshop to improve our productivity and time-management skills. Furthermore, we received cross-platform training, in which we spent a few days learning how to use the different products in our division.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Overall, I think the working environment is amazing, and one I would like to work for in the future. The role itself (quality) is not something I would do in the future, but working with the research, development and innovation team, as well as the development team, has given me an idea of the work they do, and this is appealing to me.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were 5 interns in total, all of which were sociable. We would spend time at lunch, and sometimes after work together, and have done multiple activities together. There were no awkward interactions, and everyone was comfortable and friendly around each other. One of my fellow interns is on the same team as me.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost was not cheap, but very expensive either. Northampton and Milton Keynes are the likely locations to live in. Northampton has a fairly large university, so it isn't too difficult to find student accommodation. The social life isn't great, but that depends greatly on the people you're with. Milton Keynes may be a bit more difficult to find a house.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
We work in a very remote location, and there is very little nightlife. In surrounding areas such as Northampton or Milton Keynes, there are more opportunities to go out to clubs or bars. As mentioned earlier, Northampton has a university, so there will always be some place to go out socialising.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There is a social club not too far from where we work, in which you can play sports such as badminton or tennis. In Northampton, there are more activities, like an Escape Room, climbing walls, or more sport centres. Generally, there isn't as much to do in Northampton as one may like.