I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 12 months working at Lighthouse Systems. There hasn't been a single day that I haven't looked forward coming into work, thanks to it being an enjoyable and fun company to work for.
Since the beginning I have felt extremely valued and welcomed by my colleagues. Everyone was so friendly when I started and was quick to make friends, with everyone still being approachable and happy to help whenever required. I have felt involved and part of the team and been given the same opportunities as everyone else in the company.
We have regular 1-1 meetings with our manager in which we discuss how we're progressing and how things are going. Everyone around you is also more than willing to provide support and guidance if there are any problems, or if you are stuck on something they are happy to go as far as possible to help you out.
There has always been a current stream of work for me to do throughout the year. At the beginning when I had just started, there was a number of tasks set aside that were simpler and set to ease my into working, then as time progressed along with my abilities, I was picking up any task that came in or that I was able to do. You do the same work as everyone else in the office, there's no distinction between placement students and full time employees.
I was given just as much responsibility for my work as everyone else at the company. You work within a team but you are responsible for your tasks and making sure that they are done to a high standard and within the time frame required.
The skills I have developed will be massively beneficial in assisting my degree and for taking beyond university. From a technical perspective my previously existing skills have been enhanced as well as learning about new technologies and development practices. I have also learnt a lot about development processes and working within a development team and what that entails.
The atmosphere in the office is great, everyone is extremely friendly and has a laugh with one another. The office is open plan meaning its easy to grab other people attention if you need a hand with anything.
The placement has been extremely well organised. It began with an thorough training course that was well organised and well delivered my other employees, which sets you up well for your time at the company. There was no hiccups at all throughout the year in any aspects of the placement.
The company heavily invested in training to begin, with a 12 week intensive training course led by other employees at the company. They went into great depth about the product and taught us technical skills that would be needed throughout the year. Once you begin working everyone is extremely willing to spend their time helping you out and making sure you really understand what you are doing.
There is definitely the potential for future employment after your placement. I have been offered a job for once I graduate university, as well as being asked to extend my stay after the 12 months of placement is over and work for some over the summer if I wish.
During the 12 weeks of training there were a number of social events after work hours for placement students and our colleagues to get to know each other. These included games of football, quizzes, food vans and trips to the pub. There is also the annual Christmas Party which was great fun.
The cost of living is what I would call reasonable. Depending on your budget there are house shares available in the area and flats are not overly hard to come by. Socially, there are expensive options but generally places to eat and drink etc are well priced and what you would expect for a place of its size.
There is a small number of nightclubs in the area, with it predominately being bars. You can get a train down to Brighton in around 30 minutes which has a much larger nightlife scene, equally around a 40 minute train into London, but if you're not a massive club-goer then Crawley would suffice for you.
Everyone at the company is social and willing open to inviting you to any social activities that they take place in outside of work.
Placement Year (10 Months+)