I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at Air Products. The placement scheme and graduate community was welcoming and the atmosphere in the office was friendly. I was given a lot of responsibility over the year and was trusted to be independent. Nevertheless, help was always available when needed with a very ‘open door’ atmosphere.
I was given a lot of responsibility and projects to lead over the year. This made me feel like a valuable member of my team and I was included and treated with equal respect as the other long term employees. My ideas and thoughts were always welcomed and encouraged in meetings.
My supervisor was always available to support me through my projects over the year. We had monthly reviews in which we discussion progression of my projects and a review of my workload to make sure I was never overloaded or bored. She also allowed me to be independent and get in with my own projects.
Since my role was a technical support role, a lot of our main projects we get are responses to requests from sites. Therefore, at the start of my placement when I was developing my company and technical knowledge there would be some slower days. However, as the year progressed and my capability increased, I was given a lot more responsibility and projects to take on. This kept me busy but not too overloaded with work due to our monthly reviews.
As an Air Products placement student, you are given the same level of responsibility as a long term employee that has the same level of experience/knowledge as you. Since I was not an expert or long serving experienced employee, there were some tasks that I would not be qualified or experienced enough to carry out. However, for someone of my level of experience and technical knowledge, I was writing up technical documentation, ergonomic risk assessments, managing design projects. All of which allowed me to develop a lot of respectable skills.
All of the non-technical skills that I have developed over the last year will assist me in the rest of my career. Getting the opportunity to present my ideas in front of a group of people and dealing with suppliers and employees over the world on a day to day basis has massively improved my written and verbal communication skills. Managing projects over the year and becoming familiar with risk assessments and scoping documents will assist me in my university final year project. All of which are skills for life.
I worked in the Basingstoke office where the atmosphere was very open and friendly. Everyone had an open door policy and were willing to help with any queries you may have. Although office atmosphere was chilled, there was still a huge emphasis in the office and across the whole company on safety at work and on sites. That was something that was dealt with very seriously as it should be.
The overall year seemed to flow quite well. At the beginning there was a week cross over with the previous placement student which I feel for in nicely and helped the transition into the company. We also had induction days with all other placement students and got and overview of what was to be expected throughout the year. We also had check ups from the placement team over the year to see how we were progressing and managing it.
Any opportunity to develop technical/company knowledge was encouraged. There were many training courses that occurred throughout the year and if it was to do with your area of work it was encouraged to attend. There are a variety of types of areas that I developed/training courses I attended over the year. This include outreach activities such as training in liquid nitrogen demos to carry out at local schools and clubs.
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
I would definitely consider coming back to work for the company in future employment. Having worked and enjoyed being a placement student, I also got the opportunity to see the prospects of the graduate scheme and would be happy to come back. Having a years worth of experience would also aid me in any future job I may have.
There was a great graduate student council at Air Products that organised a variety of activities throughout the year. This council was based in the Surrey office, therefore, me being in Basingstoke I could make quite a few of them but was more difficult for people based in other areas of the UK. However, people also tended to organise their own social activities in the towns they were working in. This just took their own planning and organising.
In Basingstoke and Surrey the cost of socialising and general living costs were a bit higher than I was used to. Rent was on the the main difference and more expensive parts of my year. I still felt comfortable living with the amount of disposable income the placement scheme left me with.
Basingstoke is a very small town with a few pubs and one or two clubs. Therefore, we did not have a vast majority of choice when in came to our local socials. However, we were close enough to travel to London one train away if we wanted and still managed to socialise each week with the small choice we had.
There are many outreach opportunities that are available to get involved in outside of working hours. These included performing liquid nitrogen demos at local schools and clubs. The Surrey office also had a few lunchtime and after work sports clubs that were available for employees to join, however, in Basingstoke there was no office clubs. These would have to be found outside of work.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
29th July 2019