I hugely enjoyed my time at NATS due to several aspects but I especially enjoyed the work I was given as it was meaningful and had a real world value adding contribution whereby I could see how my role was contributing to the holistic picture. The early careers scheme here at NATS really set me up in great placement rotations which felt like they were at the center of the action and this certainly helped make the already enjoyable work much more interesting.
I felt hugely valued by my colleagues and was considered as a member of the team from day one. Not only have I made some great connections because of this but I have built an extremely useful network of contacts for my future career. As mentioned above, the work I was given was impactful and value adding therefore my colleagues genuinely valued my contributions and always made me feel like a part of the team both at work and outside of work.
I feel as though I was very lucky with the placement rotations I was given and this is largely down to the managers I received as a result of these. They were extremely supportive and understanding but also wanted to challenge me. This wasn't secluded to just my rotations though, as NATS has a whole cohort of managers across the company that want to assist Early Careers students and help them grow their future careers.
On average I was extremely busy on a daily basis and can't thank my managers enough for keeping me involved and engaged throughout my placement year. I had several meetings on most days and always had work to do. Of course there were quieter days too, but that is to be expected and I was never completely without work or bored at all.
During my entire placement I was given a huge amount of responsibility which I thoroughly enjoyed, examples of this include, representing my team at important meetings, creating company wide documents, engaging with key stakeholders across the business, creating and hosting a conference with a committee of Early Careers students and so much more. The point being that there is always lots of interesting, exciting and important work to be done as well as opportunities in the Early Careers world and you can take on as much or as little responsibility as you would like.
The skills and experience I have gained are definitely going to stand me in good stead for both my final year of undergraduate study and for the remainder of my professional career. I feel as though I was able to develop both my soft and hard skills and was given opportunities to complete training resulting in me now having industry best practice based qualifications and certifications. So in short I have been able to develop my skillset into a much broader set and this has enabled me to develop both personally and professionally.
The general atmosphere in my office was always pleasant and friendly, there were sometimes periods of higher stress but that is to be expected with the nature of the industry and the job being carried out. I have to say the teams that I worked in I was able to integrate really well into and this resulted in a great rapport over the year and lots of fun!
I feel as though the overall placement scheme was well set up although it would be nice to perhaps receive a little more engagement and support from the Early Careers department over the year (they are very busy). When it came to rotations I think it's fairly well set up in that you receive a list of opportunities and submit your favoured options which you are pretty likely to receive. The way the scheme is run has recently changed to address some issues anyway which will definitely improve the experience for the Early Careers cohort.
I feel as through the company invested a significant amount of time and effort in developing me professionally. As an Early Careers member you are mandated to complete certain training over your year (or two) which definitely improved the level of insight I had about the company and the way in which it works. In addition to the generic training there was also opportunities presented by my team to take part in additional specific/ directly relevant training to my role. As mentioned previously as a result of this, I am now certified/ qualified in certain industry standard qualifications and best practice frameworks.
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
I would love to return to the organisation in the future as my brief experience has definitely given me a taste for a career at NATS. Having been a member of Early Careers I can say I would one-hundred percent return to complete the graduate scheme if given the opportunity. Aside from Early Careers, the organisation works in a very niche and exciting industry and there is always important and interesting work to be done, so coming back to NATS is definitely part of my career plan as I can see opportunities to grow here.
There was an extremely good social scene amongst placement students and colleagues which was initially facilitated by the Early Careers scheme. I think it would be beneficial if there could be more activities/ outings organised for the cohort throughout the year (e.g. bowling) by the scheme to ensure we maintain the social scene. Having said that, on most days we would have lunch together and as a cohort we became good friends and met up outside of work as well. I am very lucky to say I have made friends for life here at NATS!
I was luckily able to live at home as I grew up in the local area, so I cant speak to the cost of living however in terms of socialising I would say it's fairly average for the most part and occasionally slightly on the pricey side but not unaffordable.
Having grown up in the local area before heading to university I was aware of most of the nightlife available to us. I would say there are a selection of clubs which will cater to most tastes in Southampton and some more in Portsmouth as well as a selection of nice bars in both those locations as well as slightly further afield in Winchester (this is on the expensive side). I will also say they all have student nights, although I'm not sure it would be a good idea to try and go out mid-week.
There are a large selection of activities and clubs to get involved in across both the sites in the South (I can't speak for the Scottish site) as they have Sports and Social Clubs with a selection of sports to join in with, onsite gyms and tickets to local attractions, sports events and the theatre.
Placement Year (10 Months+)