1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
This was a real opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of the engineering sector. I was not sure about rail at first but then had an amazing time working with a front line team looking after track geometry. Met some really helpful people along the way and made connections that will last for the rest of my life.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I found colleagues quite helpful, ready and willing to teach you what they knew. I spent time in two different teams and have found both really welcoming and helpful. Colleagues tried their best to ensure that I had a positive experience of the area I was working in, and provided a varied workload.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I felt this is one area that could be improved a bit. My experiences were different in the two teams I spent time with. My time with the Structures Team, I felt the team was much more structured in what they wanted me to do. My time in the Tech Team, the management was quite supportive, we sat down at the beginning and put together some objectives, this was mostly led my me though. However, my manager was quite supportive about the learning opportunities I identified and supported me to gain those experiences.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
This varied based on the team I was in, with the Tech team I spent quite a bit of time on track which is really practical and breaks up the day pretty well. Their are times when I don't have much to do in the office but it was an opportunity to ready up and research things I was working on. My time with the Structures Team was mainly office base with some site visit, I had an interest in what I was doing so it felt find to me. however, others might find it less interesting.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
This again varied depending on the team I was working on. In the Structures Team I was given a mini project to work on the first week I arrived at the office. I felt that staff their understood in importance of delegation and enabling others. The Tech Team I found was less delegating of task. Although I was still able to lead on many of the tasks they carried out.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I really felt that the skills I have development will play a big role in my studies. If fact, from the time I spent with the Structures Team, I have decided that my major project at university will be based partly on the work they do and from the understanding that I have gained from them. I gained a really good understanding and appreciation for asset management and the importance of early maintenance strategy.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Both offices I worked in had a really good atmosphere. Both were different from each other in that the Tech Team's office was much more informal with good interaction between colleagues. The Structures Team's office was a bit more formal but again the interaction between colleagues was positive, lots of jokes in both places.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I did feel at first that the work placement could give more consideration to the discipline under which I applied and ensure that I was placed in that area. I got sent to a Depot, which wasn't really civil engineering. I had to seek out the Structures team before I was in a 'civil team'. Once I found the team that offered that experience it wasn't difficult to spend some time there.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Training during my placement was very good, I had the opportunity to attend a few conferences that took place which the company was more than happy for me to attend such as Rail Live 2019. There are a number of in house training available which I was able to attend. I felt if you identified something that was relevant to your role or development, management was happy to support.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Once you have completed a Year in Industry you have a really good chance of getting a role within Network Rail. I got a great sense that the company wants to keep those who have started with the company in my position. I personally will be looking for a different challenge once my degree is completed but it is certainly a company I would come back to in the future.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
I didn't really get involved in this area but my priorities and responsibilities were slightly different to most other placement student being a mature student with a family.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I was based at home and my circumstances were different to most average student. However, being in and around London can be expensive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Not an area I was particular interesting in. London has a busy nightlife for those who wants that.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes, the organisation offers 5 days of free volunteering, there are a number of communities within the company that provides opportunity for networking.