Electrical Engineering YII at Network Rail

Placement Year (10 Months+)
Milton Keynes
Review Date

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The Role
The Company
The Culture

Role Description

Working on renewable energy systems & regenerative power supplies.

The Role

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

Very happy overall with the opportunities provided, regarding my technical project work and career development. I’ve enjoyed various experiences and trips, such as STEM involvement, trips to depots, BTP, Scunthorpe Steel Factory, Eastleigh Electrical Control Room, etc. Reflecting back on my Year in Industry, I am very grateful for the incredibly diverse experience I have received. My recent memorable highlights include achieving high competencies of Level 3s already on the MPDS scheme for my Continuous Professional Development, arranging an external organisation Student Insight Day, testing switch gear in Wales, appointed a product tester for an in-house software tool and being awarded the MVP prize by my team which felt like a tremendous honour! I am delighted with my achievements this year and have enjoyed working in the railway industry.
5 /5

2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

I enjoyed opportunities to present on half a dozen occasions to my colleagues, with tremendous support and advice on continuous development throughout! The social and work-life dynamic was ideal and incredibly enjoyable and friendly throughout; being awarded the MVP prize by my team was a huge honour of appreciation for my presence with the team.
5 /5

3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

Placement is what you make of it. It's true what they say: you get out what you put in. Tasks had been put in place with accountability on my own large-scaled project which kept me very occupied throughout the year. However this was done with a good amount of time in place for additional tasks that I wish to be involved with. The organisation revolves around networking, which leads to further opportunities. In doing so, I have been able to find opportunities to visit Control Rooms, Substations, exhibitions, events, on-track projects, STEM events etc.
5 /5

4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

I was generally kept rather busy with my main project however sufficient time was left over for any additional STEM/other projects I wanted to participate in, such as sustainability, Fatigue Management, etc. I was trusted and relied on more work as the year progressed, a rather optimal amount yet self-dependent overall.
3 /5

5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

I believe I had the right balance in the amount of responsibility placed on my shoulders. I had been given a major project which would be my job to execute, find results for the R&D project, develop simulations, write a professional report and present. Though sufficient support was provided by technical leads when necessary. I have been able to claim responsibility on challenges I have been comfortable with, e.g. leading Insight Days and STEM sessions. These were items that I opted to take upon myself with relevant support in running.
4 /5

6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

I will be able to use the technical skills that I have developed in my Final Year Project at university, for programming and skilled knowledge within the railway industry. The practical electrical engineering experience will be very useful in future industrial environments and the understanding of the railway industry will be very significant beyond. I have certainly developed a lot of report writing, presentation, time-management, communication, networking and team-working skills this year which will also be useful for the remainder of my degree and in the working world again in the future.
4 /5

The Company

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

I loved the office environment in the Milton Keynes head office: everyone is able to have a chat on technical work or social, as well as social pod areas to break out. Everyone is welcoming to introduce yourself to and develop connections which can be very useful in building your network.
5 /5

8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

With a specialist new entrants practice manager who organises the placement very well, your development and wellbeing are regularly monitored. Dates are put in place from the start of the year to reserve for organised familiarisation days such as visits to stations, the British Transport Police, Justice Site, Steel Factory, STEM Ambassadorial Training, STEM activities in tomorrow's engineer's week & the Big Bang fair etc.
5 /5

9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

Plenty of time has been invested in Continuous Professional Development. I have been assisted in reviewing the logs that I have been encouraged to write and evidence that I have provided, in achieving competencies in line with the UKSpec. This is on the Monitored Professional Development Scheme, with an official mentor from my department, on my path towards Chartered Engineer status.
5 /5

10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Subsidised Canteen
  • Sports and Social Club
  • Subsidised/Company Gym
  • Staff Sales/Staff Shop
  • Above 25 days holiday
  • Working from home
3 /5

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

Extremely appealing: Network Rail's graduate scheme is one of the best for an engineer for Professional Development either towards IEng or CEng. It gives the opportunity to be involved in various Infrastructure Projects, Route Services, Project Management teams etc; giving a diverse experience of the huge organisation across the country. I intend to return to Network Rail following my masters degree.
5 /5

The Culture

12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

We had a fantastic network between the Year in Industry students, as well as the graduates based in Milton Keynes. We were recommended by our line manager to organise monthly meetings, which allowed each of us to chair, minute take, book rooms, present on multiple occasions and organise a guest speaker in our meetings. We feel very friendly between the YII colleagues and meet socially on a daily basis for lunch with further social opportunities beyond.
3 /5

13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

Cheaper than London but not dirt cheap in all fairness. An area filled with industries and corporate workers hence such prices, but there's the cinemas, bowling, places for drinks and food (that's recommendable), and nice lakes if you're into that type of chilled vibes.
2 /5

14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

Laid back and relaxed. Nice pubs and restaurants are about, though only a revs/popworld in MK. People can branch to nearby towns such as Leighton Buzzard or Bletchley for nights out; or in the other direction towards Northampton for more of a student populated campus. More so nice parks if you prefer to chill with friends.
1 /5

15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

There is a setup with noticeboards for clubs and societies, as well as options to set up mini-groups for our own. Also, some opportunities are emailed around in the office newsletter. We considered setting up a football 5-aside group nearby and was offered to join squash. I played badminton on a weekly basis with work colleagues in a club; and also tried something new in joining the singing group.
3 /5