The company as whole is very interesting. Having tours of 2 Tata steel plants was very enjoyable. I was assigned a project as part of my 12 week placement. Although the task being asked of myself was straightforward and simple, getting information/ items from others where the difficult parts. Often this made the project a struggle, as someone who wants to do the best they can it's hard when there are so many issues stacked against you.
A lot of the people I had direct contact with were great and very welcoming. Although, I feel as though everyone realises I am a placement student and won't be a permanent person within the company. I feel like my role is not that important to other colleagues day to day work.
Guidance wasn't as great as I was expecting. Being left for a few weeks after the start date, it was quite daunting. Especially when you've only been introduced to most people for around a minute before there is someone else. At first it was great, although there was a moment of time where I didn't have some software on my PC that would allow the work to be carried out more efficiently. This lead to me missing out on valuable opportunities.
At the start I was very busy, looking into how best to display my project that with all the tours I was able to take place in. Towards the end it was getting a bit slow. Focusing more of my time on a end of project report which discusses my times with Tata.
The responsibility of my project was pretty much on me. Which is great! Towards the end I've started to take on responsibilities that are not directly related to my project, but matter to the running of the production line. After the first few weeks I was recognised the people being asked to assist me with my project and spoke to them directly.
I liked the fact that I was flexible to work between 2 plants. the experience I got of the project gave me more knowledge on steel making and practises as well as experience in the metallurgical lab where they allowed me to use their SEM and optical microscopes. This will majorly assist me in my studies, as my competency on the SEM will allow me to carry out my work in a much more professional manner.
Quiet. Most of the time my office was very quite with little to no talking. For the first 2 weeks the other person in my office was off work, this meant I had an almost silent working space during that time, which is not to bad but could get lonely. There are often a few people present in that office in the morning while they have their morning coffee but other than that there are rarely visitors during the day.
At first it seemed very well set up. The first week consisted of both inductions and tours, this was very well organised. During my first few weeks on site one of the people whom I could directly report to was off work so I could not speak to him. Then my mid placement review was held more than halfway through my placement during which I discussed some of the issues I was facing. Although voiced these issues still occurred afterwards.
I was trained on the shears in order to cut samples down to a more manageable size myself. This was to make the process quicker for myself, I also have previous tooling experience so this was nothing new to me. I was shown how to use some of the computer programmes that would provide me with the information I needed. I was also shown how to do things that were slightly above the level of my project which I really appreciated and enjoyed.
I enjoyed my time at Tata but I don't think I would return to do the same project unless there were more cooperation between departments. I would however like to return the metallurgy lab in Port Talbot as that was an area I really enjoyed, with the work being interesting and the people very friendly and welcoming.
During the placement induction on the first day at port Talbot there was mention of social activities that the placement students could get involved in. However, most of the activities were based in the Swansea area. With placement students all over the UK this doesn't seem very fair. Events that some students may be very interested in would be very difficult to get to as they don't live any where near. If I remember correctly there was a pub meet on a Thursday in port Talbot, again the location isn't suitable for all. Neither is drinking on a weekday.
I did not socialise in the area. I however did not realise I would be based in Llanwern as when I was applying for the position it stated Port Talbot. I lived just a 30 minute drive from Port Talbot which would have suited me. Instead I have had to source accommodation that is closer to Llanwern during the week. This also means a 3 hour drive home on Fridays. If I am unable to get accommodation for a reasonable price then I have no choice but to make the commute to and from home.
Do not attend the nightlife due to the issues I had above. Plus, I was the only person on placement in my area, so when staying the area I was alone. and most people working in the department are a lot older. this meant socialising in the evenings was not going to be something I could experience.
There were a few mentioned during the induction in Port Talbot. But due to the locations of the activities and where I am based there is no possible way to attend these. It might be worth them considering the organise activities for placement students we aren't based at Port Talbot and give everyone the same opportunity.
Internship (1-4 Months)
21st August 2019