Undergraduate Mechanical Engineer based at the Maritime Services site at Cowes, Isle of Wight, working for the Radar Sector.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Really enjoyed my placement. Got to sample lots of different aspects/areas of engineering. Got the opportunity to travel and witness testing. Placement manager made sure I had opportunity to take part in training courses, supplier visits etc. Not just sat at desk all day. Really good online training resources available too.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I was part of the team from day one. Always involved with team meetings, kept up to date with the teams goals and progression. Colleagues made sure I was involved in as many projects as I wanted and got the most out of my placement. Colleagues very supportive throughout, helping me to find suitable opportunities to develop my skills.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Well supported. Made sure I always had plenty of work, plenty of variety of task. They made sure I got involved in as many activities/training as I could. Helped me develop my skills in the areas I was interested in as well as sample other areas I had no experience in in order to gain new skills.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Fairly busy each day. Gave me plenty of work. Only one period with not enough work, due to a project shut down. I was always asked if I needed any more/less work and they always tried to find me tasks which would suit my skillset and help my develop the particular skills/areas I wanted.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Given a good level of responsibility. I was able to gain some project management and leadership experience on one of the projects, allowing me to time manage, organise supplier visits/ stakeholder meetings and take charge. At the same time there was always someone to ask questions to/ help with task if I needed.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Developed much better teamwork and communication skills through this placement. The placement helped me to grow my confidence levels and experience what its like to work on real engineering projects and be part of an engineering team. My technical skills were also improved, gaining valuable FEA and MATLAB which will be useful in any future engineering roles.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was always very friendly and calm. Everyone always very chatty and willing to help in whatever way they can or point you towards the right person. Sometimes atmosphere was a bit down, for example due to a project being shut down due to lack of funding, but in general most people always stayed positive.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Most of the placement well organised. Initial briefing covered most things we needed to know. Regular updates/ performance reviews were held to make sure we were happy and still on track. Some issues with IT not being readily available for a few weeks after we started and difficult to get hold of any additional required IT. More organisation needed before new starters arrive.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was able to get involved with all the training/ development I asked for. I was able to attend conferences as well to do with certain skills I wanted to improve. If ever there were any trips away which would be a useful experience for me I was able to attend these.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I gained an exceptional rating in my end of placement performance review and therefore have been offered a place on the company's graduate scheme after I graduate. Process was fairly easy and we were kept informed throughout our placement about the opportunities after the placement and what was required for this.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I believe so at other sites. However, I was based on a site on the Isle of Wight where there were no other placement students to socialise with. Also the age demographic of our site is quite high, so not many younger colleagues to socialise with. Some social events were organised every few months at the site, but not that often.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The Isle of Wight has a lower living cost than many of the 'mainland' sites. The rent is cheaper and the house prices are cheaper. Most social options are relatively low cost, for example restaurants, pubs and shops. However there are a limited number of social places on the island.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The Isle of Wight is not good for nightlife. There are a few bars/pubs but only about 1 club on the island It is not a great place for going out. You have to travel across to the 'mainland' i.e. Portsmouth or Southampton if you want to have any proper nightlife.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There are opportunities to get involved with volunteering for example various charities or the Isle of Wight education ambassadors group which plans/ helps out with STEM events on the island. The placement encourages 'Stretch' assignments, so doing extra-curricular activities outside your placement. Outside work, the island has some activity groups for walking or sailing for example but these are still a bit limited.