• The Role
  • The Company
  • The Culture

    The Role

  • 1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
  • Overall, I really enjoyed my placement. To start with it was difficult getting into the new routine but once I got into the flow of working life it was good - it depends on your course but for me I have much more free time on weekends and evenings compared to at uni. Knorr-Bremse is a really friendly company with great people and the company offers many perks to employees.


  • 2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
  • I felt really valued by my department and was never made to feel like a burden but rather a proper member of the team. Other members of the business also showed an interest in my project and were always willing to offer advice. When I mentioned to my manager that I was sometimes just working on my project rather than being involved with the rest of the team, he made sure to involve me in more team activities.


  • 3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
  • My manager was always willing to offer support where I needed it. I had to be quite proactive in asking for help if I needed it, but this was mainly as my manager was so busy and he also recognised that I am happy to organise my own time and ask for help if required. We had regular meetings to check up on my progress and I also had meetings with the director of quality once a month.


  • 4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
  • The amount of work I had was variable. The main project I was working on was long-term so this was always ongoing but quite spread out so there wasn't loads to do for this on any given day. Some days I found myself really busy as there were a lot of short-term issues that needed to be dealt with, whereas on other days I had no set tasks, so I had to plan my time to make sure I would be kept busy during the day. However, my manager always said I should just ask if I didn't have much to do and was happy to suggest things I could get involved in. On some days the entire quality team might be offsite on supplier visits etc. and these were the only times it was very quiet.


  • 5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
  • From day one I was really surprised how much responsibility I was given. It built up more throughout the year but I always felt like an employee rather than 'the student'. The main project I worked on would affect the whole company so I was able to schedule meetings with fairly senior members of the company with no issue. I was always trusted to carry out tasks as required without needing supervision and was allowed to work very independently which I found great.


  • 6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
  • My degree (Physics and Chemistry) is not directly related to my placement in Quality, but being involved in an engineering company helped build on my theoretical knowledge to apply it to industry. However, the main skills I learnt were 'soft skills' such as communication, leadership, teamwork etc. which will be invaluable in the rest of my career.


    The Company

  • 7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
  • The office is open plan which creates a really sociable atmosphere. Whilst some people are very busy, pretty much everyone is up for a chat occasionally to break up the day. Friday is particularly good as most people only work for the morning, we can wear casual clothes and there is a cooked breakfast served in the canteen. In my office there were about 6 other students and 2 graduates so it was nice to have some other young people about. On birthdays/occasions people always bring in cakes so there's almost always food somewhere...


  • 8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
  • Knorr-Bremse definitely have a structured placement scheme but I did not find it as well organised as it first seemed when I arrived. We didn't really have any 'placement catch up' meetings aside from sometimes speaking to the graduates who were assigned as our mentors, but this was very informal. However, I am sure that HR would have offered guidance if I had asked and for me it was no problem, I think just for people who might want a very structured placement scheme it might not be ideal.


  • 9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
  • When we first arrived there was a 2 day placement workshop run by external leadership trainers which was held at a local hotel, covering things like teamwork, leadership and how to get the most out of your placement. Other than this I did not do any formal training, but I know other students had more opportunities so I think this depends on the placement you do.


  • 10. What were the perks on your work placement?
  • Flexi Time

    Subsidised Canteen

    Sports and Social Club

    National Travel

    Financial Bonus

    Company Parties/Events

    Above 25 days holiday

    Working from home


  • 11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
  • Knorr-Bremse has a graduate scheme and the only way to get onto this is to do the placement year. However, in recent years they have only taken engineers as there is a shortage and it seems like the graduate scheme is less structured than the placement scheme due to headcount/budget restrictions.


    The Culture

  • 12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
  • Overall there were 17 placement students, as well as a few graduates and younger members of the company who all socialised together which was great. We all ate lunch together and regularly met up after work/on weekends. Many of the placement students also lived together so there was always something going on, and a few even went on holiday together. The Christmas party at a hotel in Bath was fun as well.


  • 13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
  • This is a difficult question - living in Melksham and the local area is fairly cheap, but a lot of students live in Bath/Bristol which is more expensive. We generally tended to go to Bath which is pretty expensive for socialising (unless you're used to London prices). Many of the students who came from unis further North commented on how much more expensive it is.


  • 14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
  • Nightlife in Melksham is pretty non-existent. Nearby Trowbridge has a few pubs and one (small) nightclub, but this wasn't really a problem as we would always just go to Bath/Bristol if we wanted a night out. For me this was no problem as I lived in Bath but for people in Melksham/Trowbridge it was a bit expensive for taxis etc. There is a pub near the site which people sometimes go to after work (birthdays/people leaving etc.)


  • 15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
  • KB has quite a lot of opportunities available, for example some people play football and badminton after work. I was part of the KB choir at Christmas as well as taking part in the Rail Diversity Challenge - an activity day promoting gender equality in the rail industry. There is a company sports day and also an annual 'Knorr Day' which usually involves free food and activities promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


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Placement Year (10 Months+)

Engineering, Purchasing and Supply, Transportation

South West

July 2019

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