1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The work was interesting. I worked in the projects department as a project engineer. This was enjoyable as it offered different challenges then I have experience in university. The only issue was getting information about a system from some of the engineers on plant as it would take a while to do so and require a lot of chasing up.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The project team I worked with was very friendly with a few social events as a team occurring through the year. As well there were regular networking events with the other engineering placement students, graduates and higher apprentices. These events were good to get to know other people and aspects of the site that you wouldn't be able to work on.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
As part of the Engineering Placement/Graduate scheme you are assigned a line manager and a mentor. This provided a lot of support in making sure you were settled in and had work to be doing. I saw my mentor daily. Also there were other engineers who had been mentors to graduates / placement students so were aware of graduates / placements starting so helped made sure you were settled in and helped find where stuff was and what to do.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
The nature of the project meant there were really busy periods and quiet periods. This caused work load to vary throughout the year. As well, as a chemical placement student there was limited work load specifically related to chemical engineering.
However, there were multiple projects going on so there was plenty of opportunity to get exposure to site work, construction work and commissioning.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
At TATA, they give you a lot of responsibility. I was in charge of making sure the process side of a project to install a new pump house. I as well was responsible for getting the pump house designed by an outside company, so I had to write a specification, do a tender review and then host a site visit for the company doing the design work. I then was responsible for making sure the process safety studies happened, the design information was available and the right people were there.
As well, graduates/placement students are encourages to complete lead safe audits. This meant making sure work was being carried out safely, correct house keeping was kept, permits were in order etc. Whilst this is quite daunting at first, there was a lot of support and supervision as away to make sure you were doing the right thing.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The skills developed on placement will probably not help in my final year as it is more theoretical, but the skills and training will help with my career. An example is the process safety side. This will help with understanding why certain safety measures and redundancies are included and also how process safety studies such as HAZOPS should occur.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Depends on the day, how busy everyone was and if many people were on holiday. Ranged from it being a fun/lively office to a quiet and dull office.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
When I applied it took a while to hear back about interview (I.e. End of April). Then I only received confirmation I received the job and the contract with less than a month before it started.
However, this is an issue that I was told was sorted for the following year and placements got the job confirmed months before they started.
During the placement and at the end everything was organised. All IT Equipment was sorted and there was PPE provide (ie overalls, hard hat, boot, ear defenders, gas monitor, safety glasses). However it took 6 months before I received my TATA PPE (TATA Coloured & flame retardant overalls instead of generic blue overalls initially provided).
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
As part of the Engineering Placement Scheme, I was provide with the Process Engineering graduate training book which I had to get 50% completed. This involved me going on course and speaking with various engineers to get it completed. There were plenty of course held to help with the training book. There were a couple of course I wanted to go on that were not internal so had a cost associated with them, which meant I could not go on them. However, graduates are allowed to go on these courses assuming they're relevant.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There is a big recruitment drive for engineers. There is a lot of positivity about accepting a placement with TATA.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I made some good friends with placement students during my placement at TATA. Most placement students go to Swansea University so it was good meeting other students as well. This allowed for me to go with a large group of people to University events going on such as Welsh Varsity which was a really good day out.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of food was reasonable. The cost of rent was pricier than I had experienced in other areas before. The price of drinks and nights out was reasonable but more expensive than back at university.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I spent my year living in Swansea. The nightlife here was good during term time as Swansea is a 'student' city with it having 2 universities in. However, it was dead during non term time. Also most students went out during the week, so on the weekend night life varied in business and what events were going on.
I would recommend living in Cardiff for a busier night life.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
TATA have a young professionals society called Magnet. They were really good in organising lots of events to network with other graduates and placement students and young professionals. Events they host range from a monthly social, to go karting, to a trip abroad to visit other sites. Magnet also have an annual symposium which they have talks from various people about interesting stuff going on in the steel business. This is a good event to network with people from other TATA sites from across the UK.
There were also a few events with the projects department to celebrate the end of a project.