1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed my work placement very much. The atmosphere of the office was very welcoming and friendly, as well as being engaged in the work I was given. People were always happy for me to ask questions about the company or to help me in my project. easy access to tea and coffee too.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt that everyone was happy with me being there and understood I was a student and wanted to learn from my experience. No one made me feel like I was tacking up their time or getting in their way, if they were busy at the time they'd nearly always rearrange to meet me at a different time .
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My line manager was very supportive, on my first day I had a full induction to understand how the company works and all the admin bits and bobs id need to get around. This was especially thoughtful as I was the only student starting at that time. My technical manager was always happy to help when asked, but was very busy so sometimes hard to get the answered I needed.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
How busy I was varied quite a lot from day to day. At the beginning of my placement I found relatively often that I hadn't been set a particular job to do, so would spend this time looking to the rail industry to improve my knowledge. As the placement went on I got more work to do so this was less of a problem.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
The responsibility I was given was defiantly very controlled, the emphasise was very much more placed on me learning about the industry and improving my skills than on completing projects for deadlines. That being said I didn't feel that the projects I was sent were useless, rather given to me to make things more efficient later.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I learnt lots about the rail industry, which I knew practically nothing of at the start of my placement. My work focused on the DC rail net work, so I also learnt quite a lot about power distribution networks that should be very useful in my future studies as an electrical engineer.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was very friendly, I defiantly felt that there was a place for me, not that I was there to tick a box for helping students. There were also quite a few other students, both summer internships and years in industries across different departments. This helped when settling in to make the office feel less of an alien space.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Pre starting the placement contact with HR had been very sporadic and in particular finding out my starting dates was quite a challenge. But once in the internship my managers had everything planned out for me and could answer any questions about admin that I had been left in the dark about before.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I was given quite a lot of opportunities to get out of the office, most of these where to get on site of places like substations or to see the inner workings of stations. There were opportunities to go on training courses but didn't fit in with my time there. My manager was very keen for me to keep an account and go through aims I should have for the placement, very much in the mind to be used in future job applications. There was also an engineer who spent a lot of time with me explaining the proses of getting charter ship once out of uni
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I'm keen to return for another placement next summer to improve my experience in industry, which they have confirmed I will be given a place for. In the later future I hope I would be given at least a slightly easier path for the grad scheme they run. I know the year in industry student , if their managers think they have performed well, are given placed on the grad scheme.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
At work there was about 15 other students doing either summer placements or years in industries. Both commuters and temporally staying in Milton Keynes. Felt as if the company could have introduced us to each other rather than spending the first few weeks only knowing the ones in your department.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Rent was reasonably high but manageable with the pay given. Quite a few student commuted from London or the surrounding area.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Not good, Milton Keynes is a strange place and around 70% of the students weren't staying in Milton Keynes so made meeting up after work hard. That being said as the summer went on and people got to know each other more there were more trips out, particularly on Fridays after work.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?