My main role was to improve the efficiency of current processes by designing and implementing new, low cost equipment.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Right from the start, this placement gave me the opportunity to work on solo projects that had a direct impact on production. I had the chance to apply the technical skills that I learned in the first two years of my engineering degree at university and I was also able to develop my soft skills.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I joined the company just before a new model was introduced, which meant that all of my engineering colleagues were very busy, but they all took time to help me if I had any problems. As the placement went on and my skill level increased, my colleagues would ask for my input in meetings and take my opinions on board when reaching a decision.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager was always available for support, but I never felt like I was continuously being checked on, which I enjoyed. We usually had one 30 minute meeting per week, where my project progress was discussed and he was always available for a 5 minute chat if ever I needed a quick piece of advice on how to approach a task.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
My time was split between meetings, project work and shop floor requests and it was my responsibility to balance my time appropriately. Most of the projects that I was involved in required input from others and I often found myself waiting around for their end of the task to be completed, which I found frustrating. However, I usually had other tasks to get on with whilst I was waiting.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
At the very start of the placement, I was given a few low value tasks to undertake, with the aim of supporting other engineers. Once I had proven myself, I was given high responsibility tasks that had a direct impact on improving the efficiency of vehicle production. I led a number of projects, which saw me organise and conduct meetings with more experienced members than myself. I always felt like adequate support was available should I struggle with the level of responsibility.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Being an Aeronautical Engineering student, a lot of the technical knowledge will not be transferrable to my degree, but I have learned a number of invaluable project management skills that will help me massively during my final year university project. I had the opportunity to develop my communication skills throughout the year by speaking to a huge variety of members (engineers, managers and shop floor members etc.). I believe this will benefit me greatly in my future career.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
A very friendly atmosphere and great camaraderie. Right from the start I was welcomed by all other engineers and I always felt as if I could ask them for advice or help with my own projects.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
On the whole, things were organised brilliantly by both HR and my department. My desk and computer account was set up for me before I started and from day one we were made aware of the dates of courses, presentations and reviews.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Cannot fault this at all. All placement students were put onto a number of training courses within the first two months and this helped me understand the Toyota way of working right from the start. Courses also helped to enhance my reporting and presentation skills, which will help me when I return to university.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The Toyota graduate scheme offers further training/development opportunities and a very competitive salary, so I will certainly consider coming back after graduating from university, should I be offered a job in a similar role.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes - there were a number of other industrial placement students and graduates that started at the same time as myself, so this meant that we got to know each other right from the start. We organised to go out most weekends as well as having a Christmas meal and leaving meal.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived with my parents during the placement, so I had a very low cost of living! In terms of socialising, you struggle to pay more than £4 for a pint of beer at most places in the Derby and Nottingham area.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Derby doesn't have too many clubs, but the likes of Revs and Mosh can be quite good, especially during university term time. Nottingham is close to Derby and doesn't cost much to get to in a taxi and the nightlife here is one of the best in the country, in my opinion.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Within the first couple of weeks, I was invited to the company's weekly football session. My team held a Christmas meal and a leaving meal for myself.