Fantastic placement. Was based in the Schlumberger Cambridge Research Centre looking at complex drilling fluids which was a new area for me. I felt a welcomed, important part of the team and was constantly challenged with new experiences that I would never have experienced whilst staying at university. It's such an easy going company to work for, with little things such as free tea and coffee to flexible working hours allowing everyone to work to there needs.
From the first day within the company I felt an important member of the team. I partly expected to be given a side project to keep myself busy. However, I was very quickly integrated into ongoing works within the company where I felt my work was an important contribution to the company, to see my manager present my work to higher up members of staff was pretty good.
Felt like it was a good balance of help. I definitely did depend on what manager you got, but speaking personally I enjoyed it. At no point did I feel overly managed, was given space to work and when I needed help the office was always open to go around. Did sometimes mean when there was a meeting when with our team and they were all occupied you could be sat around for a bit waiting.
Most of the time the work balance was great, between lab work and office based could split the time as I wanted (to an extent) which is how I like to work. There were parts in the year where my manager didn't have enough for me to do so would have to occupy myself with research either for my report or just university work, which is fine for a couple days but any longer got quite dull. However, if you take initiative and seek work out, someone on site will have something you can get involved in.
Was pretty much left along when working to get results which was good. Once trained up on equipment was trusted to get the results for it. We were encouraged to come up with our tests but due to the complexity of the industry it takes a while before you feel comfortable suggesting anything to try.
In terms of lab work and approach to experiment it has been fantastic, rather than being coddled like you are at university labs you are allowed to approach experiments your way with of course appropriate safety training. My analytical skills have also come on leaps and bounds, in terms of how much you can get out of a small amount of data. Finally my presentation skills have improved the most, feel much more confident putting together a report or a presentation and then having to present that to a larger group.
Everyone always seemed to have a smile which was great. The social club always seemed to have some sort of event in the works to help getting people to know each other. Of course it did get serious at times when work needed to be done but always felt happy going into work.
Really well organised. They are really helpful in your first month, allowing a little extra for a first months accommodation to help you settle and allowing time off if you had any places to view. Every department was well set up and always knew who to talk to if had a problem in a certain area.
Little things throughout the year such as running a CV and cover letter workshop for a small group of us was really great. Other things like having several practice sessions for an oral presentation we had to do back at University was a nice thing for feedback. If we had an online course we wanted to do and they thought it was relevant can get some funded.
Sports and Social Club
They encourage you to apply to there fresh outs scheme was you would have a small head start in, but no guarantees of a job. You see a lot of staff around the site who were interns at one point which is pretty positive. They are definitely now trying to encourage you to come back to the company with the company doing better in the market than a few years back. But there is no guarantee of a job.
There was 10 students on placement for the 12 months, with a couple coming throughout the year and then a fair few more over summer which made for a good group. As most are of a similar age 21-22 we had enough similar interests to get on at work, plus everyone had a little be of spending money which was good.
Cambridge unfortunately is London prices unless you're a student at the university. Only a handful of pubs that offer cheap drinks and food is pretty pricy for eating out. Cost of living in city centre is pretty awful, limited housing due to all the student accommodation and the rest is quite expensive meaning most likely have to live on outskirts, which is fine but will need a bike or be able to drive realistically.
Pretty poor, could count the number of clubs on one hand, and none were particularly better than the next. However, they are alright for a bit of a laugh if you know what you're going in for. One of the pubs turn into a nightclub at weekends which maybe terrible but is at least a cheap fun(ish) night out.
At weekends the opportunities were limited, however after work they had a fair few events on throughout the year. Every Friday a group go to the pub, and if you take initiative and try to organise something you can get funding and people will want to go. Had bowling, foot golf and a footy tournament to name a few.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
East of England
9th September 2019