Summer placement (10 weeks) in the paint shop facilities team.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The role (Paint facilities engineer) fitted me very well with a great balance of desk work and work around the shop floor. My immediate team were also very supportive and we got along very well. The factory itself is fascinating to learn about and explore and I am grateful that I now have a much wider knowledge and understanding of engineering/automation processes.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Myself and the other Paint engineering placement felt very welcomed as we joined the team. We were quickly introduced to everyone and everyone got on very well. I knew who to contact regarding any issues with my projects and everyone was very helpful. I felt valued by the team as I was given jobs/projects by almost every member.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Nissan uses a mentor system for summer placements/ year placements and grad schemes, this allows you to learn from an experienced member of the team. My mentor was well matched to me and was incredibly useful (especially in the opening weeks). I could also regularly rely on the senior engineer of the team for advice and guidance.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
On most days, I had enough work to fill the majority of the day. However I would sometimes find myself with nothing to do for the last 45 minutes. As well as this, occasionally all of my projects would come to a standstill at the same time, so would have to pick up smaller jobs to fill my day. This is not necessarily Nissan's fault and is more to do with the timeframe of the placement in limiting access to larger projects.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
From the beginning, I was given a high degree of responsibility and autonomy. Usually a job/project would be given to you by another member of the team in a briefing session. From then, carrying out the work was my responsibility. As a result, the work that I have done on my placement has left a lasting mark on the factory and saved the company significant money.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The work experience is far removed from my course material. In reality, engineering is a lot more based on project management and network building rather than understanding complex physics and maths. This placement will have improved my work ethic and organization, so heading into 3rd year should now be easier than it was before.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Calm and a good working environment. Good IT systems, good kitchen and well constructed layout. Becomes very quiet over the summer shutdown period as most engineers are not working. Feels easy to talk to your colleagues. All the placement students have lunch together in the canteen, where food is heavily subsidized.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Could have been better. For example, ordering in PPE in advance rather than having to sort it on 1st day. IT was a little confusing to begin with as there are many systems that we use and all require different passwords/logins. HR could've communicated better before the placement started. For example, they put us in a facebook group of all the placements (summer and year) with the idea of helping us to find housing, however this was only done a week before we started, even though they knew who was on each scheme for months.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There were opportunities available to go on training courses, however I wasn't pushed to go on any by my team as they were all knowledgeable in the specific areas so could help me out when needed. The first week of the placement was an induction, with designated training staff teaching us about the Nissan culture/lifestyle.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Would strongly consider coming back for another summer placement/grad scheme. Enjoyed the role and thought it was well suited to my skills. My worry would be that I ended up in a different team that I would not enjoy as much. Other placement students had very different experiences to myself.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
We went out a couple of times but not too often due to most people being busy elsewhere at weekends. Nothing was organised by the company, so we just organised stuff ourselves. One problem is that there are parking permit only spaces all over the NE so parking at other placement's houses is sometimes an issue. Newcastle is very good for nights out.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Very cheap as its based in the North East. Lived in Sunderland, where rent was £310 pcm including bills. Drinks are very cheap compared to some areas. Food is the same price as anywhere else in the country. Many of the clubs in Newcastle are free entry which was a pleasant surprise.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Very good, wish I'd experienced it more
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Mainly spent a lot of time in the gym with other placements after work. Nissan has a few sports clubs but I didn't get involved. With the long work days, you don't get an awful lot of free time anyway. Newcastle is well equipped with activities, Sunderland not so much (it's much cheaper, but much more horrible).