I really enjoyed my placement at Lubrizol Hazelwood as an Automotive Test Engineer. During my two years at university, I learnt a lot of theory, this placement allowed me to apply some of this theory to the real world. I was given projects of my own to manage and complete, just like a full time engineer.
Most of the time I felt very valued. For the projects that I was given to complete by myself, I felt I got the most recognition for these projects and felt very valued. Whereas, some of the odd-jobs for some of the Engineers, I did not feel like I got the recognition that I should have.
My supervisor was consistent in checking up on me to ensure I knew what I was doing, but didn't get too involved, which allowed me to think for myself. Overall, this worked well and allowed my to develop my problem solving skills along with time management to make sure deadlines were met.
My workload varied somewhat throughout the year. I would often go through very busy periods, where I had a lot of work to do and manage. However, there was also times when I had barely anything to do. I think some of the full-time engineers also experienced this though, so it was part of the job.
I felt I was given quite a lot of responsibility, considering i was 'just a student'. One of my main projects, I had to apply for funding and once I got the funding, I was fully in charge of this budget and had to manage it to ensure the scope of the project was met in a cost efficient manner.
One of my main projects was very similar to the type of project I will be doing in my final year of university. This project developed my technical skills along with presentation skills. One improvement that needs making for my role, is more training in the control software used. I did eventually receive training in this, but I had to go out of my way to get it.
Despite the age gap, the two Engineers I shared an office with were always up for a laugh, yet it was also a very productive office. They both taught me a lot about the workplace and progression as an Engineer, along with my ever-developing technical understanding of Engine Test Engineering.
It was very well setup. Prior to beginning my placement, there was a familiarisation day, this involved meeting the other placement students and my department. This worked very well because it allowed me to get familiar with everyone and a group of us to secure a house in Derby for the year.
At the start of my placement my presentation skills were somewhat lacking. Various members of staff helped me throughout the year with this through feedback from presentations. I now feel a lot more confident at presenting in both formal and informal situations. As previously mentioned, more training in software would be useful.
Sports and Social Club
There are no direct graduate roles/schemes, however various previous placement students are now employed at Lubrizol. The headcount seems to remain fairly constant, so the only way of getting a permanent job is if somebody leaves.
Due to Lubrizol taking on 25+ placement students the social scene is good. I quickly made friends with the majority of the students and we would all often socialise both in and out of work.
Derby housing cost if fairly cheap, similar to what I pay at Uni. I shared a house with 3 other placement students and we all got on very well. The sports and social club arranged a trip to Alton Towers which worked out very cheap, compared to the usual price.
Derby's nightlife is fairly decent, there are plenty of good bars and drinks aren't too expensive if you go to the right places. Nottingham isn't far away either, I've heard this has a better nightlife than Derby.
The sports and social club at Lubrizol often arranged trips to various places. All of which were subsidised, so it was cheaper than usual!
Placement Year (10 Months+)
2nd September 2019