Really enjoyed the placement, it was great to use the Chemistry I have been learning at university for technical problems which will have an impact. The team were really welcoming. The work was given to me in stages which worked well as I did not get overwhelmed by it at any point.
I felt welcomed to the team, my colleagues checked I was enjoying the placement at regular intervals which was great. I feel that I was valued by my team, I was one of not many chemists so felt that my opinion and ideas were listened to in the research being carried out.
I had regular meetings with my supervisor in which I talked about the progress I had made and he suggested ideas for further research or more papers to read. My team leader was also approachable and regularly checked I was enjoying the work and had been given the right amount to do.
There was a good amount of work. Initially I was reading papers to get background, then moved to actually carrying out analysis. I had enough to do to fill everyday, I never felt overwhelmed. There were lots of talks about other areas to go to as well which were really interesting and provided a good change of scene during the day.
As one of not many chemists on this project I felt my ideas were listened to and valued. I was given enough independence to get work done but also had check-ins with my supervisor to ensure I was not going off track. The samples I analysed were not my choice but I feel once given the results if was my responsibility to do the analysis
It was great to use the skills I have learnt in the last three years of my degree on this placement but also develop new skills, for example I did a presentation to my team. Presenting is a skill that I know will be valuable for my fourth year at university. Also being able to judge the reliability of different sources quickly and accurately will be really useful.
Great atmosphere, everyone seemed relaxed but getting on with their work. No one seemed overly stressed by work. Many people had issues with the smart working set up of the office so that was the main cause of any annoyance. There was a good balance of people having conversations but it was fine for people to say they were busy.
The task I was given fitted very well into the time I was with DSTL. I feel there was an end goal from the start of the task that was achieved in my last week. The arrival process was also very smooth, we were given our laptops etc on the first day so could start the tasks immediately.
Talks and demonstrations were regularly advertised and our team leader requested that the rest of the team invite the interns to things which we might find interesting even if they were not completely related to our tasks. There were many opportunities to learn more about the research going on at DSTL beyond the team I was in.
Unfortunately the graduate scheme in Platform Systems only has 8 sponsored places for interns so there was really high competition. If you do not get one of these places you have to go through the full application with all other applicants. This is a shame as I would really like to take part in the graduate scheme, (yet to hear if I have a place). This also means there is a large disparity between divisions - there were interns in other divisions who were offered jobs at the end of their placements after only a chat with their team leader.
There were many social events taking place for new starters and regular emails about these.
The cost of living was relatively high. Many of the interns chose to take the bus to work but this was really expensive (£7.40 for a return). There is a free bus which unfortunately runs at inconvenient times making impossible to take the free bus and work the allotted number of hours.
There were many opportunities at weekends and evenings to take part in, some organised through work for new starters. Though unfortunately I never took part in any they looked fun and a nice change from work.
Internship (1-4 Months)
11th September 2019