1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Work in the DePuy Synthes Test Labs was a good challenge. The work was engaging and the team were so friendly and welcoming. It could sometimes be quite repetitive and I was left out of the loop on upcoming projects/trainings a few times. However, I was given plenty of both independent and team projects, including project management opportunities and freedom to pick some of my own work.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Regular meetings to share progress with the whole team meant that there was a lot of visibility for the work I was doing. My colleagues identified when I was knowledgeable and sought out my input, they were always happy to give constructive feedback. I never felt like I didn't get credit for my work or ideas.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
A weekly catch up meeting with my supervisor meant I always had a chance to ask questions or vocalise concerns. My supervisor was happy to let me dictate my own workload but gave good advice for managing it. He also regularly made time to proof read reports or run through presentations before big meetings, so that I was confident in my work.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Definitely too busy at times. Running tests took up a lot of my work day and the next test would need to be ready by the time the current one finished, which didn't always leave enough time for reports, meetings and other projects. It meant I was never bored, and if I did have too much at once then I always had support from my colleagues to take on bits that I didn't have time for.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I had ownership of my own tests and was the main operator of a test rig. I did however have to differ to the expertise of others a lot with some tests, but that can be attributed to experience. I was also given control of the team that look after lab organisation, which mean I lead the team in regular audits and continuous improvements.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Some of the technical skills wont be as useful in the long run - I'm not sure understanding specific test rigs will help me pass my degree. However, the time management and self discipline I have learned here will really help me maintain a routine and a work-life balance in the future. I've also learned a lot about how to communicate with people with different needs and experience.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Really relaxed atmosphere, everyone was really friendly and welcoming. People knuckle down and get on with work, but we are encouraged to take breaks and get up to walk around. Most of R&D sit together at lunch and people are always keen to get to know someone new in the office or at lunch.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Induction was a little bit disorganised, but that has improved since I started. I was trained on different processes just before I would need them so that I could do the work and be confident in doing it. Having a supervisor meant that I always had someone to ask questions to.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Lots of training upfront for lab skills and safety, some training on the relevant background knowledge and personal improvement. However this tailed off after a few months and I was not included in several professional skills/development training sessions that other placements from different departments had access to. I presume that it was down to workload and cost saving.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
They have a really good grad scheme, but I have to apply for that and interview for it with other candidates. There's a fast track in the application process but no more chance of getting the job than anyone else. There is also no guarantee of a permanent role after the grad scheme.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
My team have a monthly dinner club and there are fairly regular events hosted by colleagues from work. People are always sharing events/hobbies that are going on outside of work that people can attend. There's also corporate social responsibility events used a s team building, there tends to be a couple a month that people can opt into.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
There's some relatively cheap housing up in Headingley, HR set up a Facebook group so the placement students could band together to find a house. Groceries are pretty cheap but the big supermarkets aren't particularly convenient. There's quite a range of prices for eating/drinking out, but in general its cheaper in Leeds than it is further south.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There are some really great bars that do cheap drinks offers. There are clubs for all kinds of music tastes and they're always lively. For a quieter drink there are some really great pubs in and around the city centre and there are a few really quirky places to go with great live music (look out for the jazz bar inside a barbers).
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Colleagues were always keen to give advice about activities in the area - I got invited to join the salsa club several of them attend. J&J provide free swimming at the Leeds council pools meant that that was really accessible. There are plenty of fitness classes and social activities listed at the council leisure centres, so it wasn't hard to find hobbies. Leeds university societies were also quite welcoming for getting involved in my existing hobbies.