I thoroughly enjoyed the 14 weeks I spent at DSTL. The wide range of work that occurs there alongside the flexibility to find work that interests you means it is almost impossible to not enjoy coming to work. The environment at DSTL is also really friendly and flexible, everyone is approachable from the other summer interns to the more senior individuals. Knowing you can talk to anyone for help and advice is very comforting.
The work done at DSTL is incredibly important, knowing that you are contributing to the defence services by completing the work in your internship gives a real sense of importance and value. There is also lots of different routes for recognition of success and I have found my line manager particularly supportive of the work I do.
The structure of DSTL makes sure everyone is properly looked after. Naturally, your line manager is your first point of call for any issues. During my placement, my line manager was very support, always making time to have regular catch ups to review my progress, any concerns and any further support I need. However, your line manager isn't your only point of call, everyone around you is happy to help and provide guidance where necessary.
The summer internship is focused on development and not delivery, meaning that individuals on the scheme are not 100% utilised. This has several benefits, it means you never feel overwhelmed, and you have the freedom to find work you wish to do, network, and see aspects of DSTL which full time members of staff may not be able to. However, it does mean there are less busy periods. Even though this can be disheartening at first, it teaches you to find stuff to do and take your initiative. You truly are as busy as you make yourself.
The level of responsibility builds during your time. On the summer internship you are given a task to do. At first you may require a lot of support and feel nervous to make decisions by yourself. But as your confidence in your role grows you begin to take action and really become engaged in your work. It is nice to know that your project is yours. At the end of the scheme it is a great feeling knowing you are responsible for the completion of a piece of work
Although I was not really able to use any of my technical knowledge from my degree during my placement, I did develop a very wide range of skills. Such as knowing how to conduct myself in a professional environment and how to progress with research when believe you have come to a dead end. These kind of skills can only really be learnt in the work place and make you more employable. I am excited to continue developing at University next year using these skills and my increased confidence.
The environment at DSTL is so positive and friendly. Everyone is very respectful of other peoples commitments outside of work and the work life balance is encouraged. As an intern it can sometimes feel like other staff expect you to be perfect, but this is really not the case. DSTL is all about development and no one is shy to ask questions when they need help.
From when I sent off my application to receiving my offer of employment there were no issues. However, because I switched departments there were some communication issues, nothing at all major. In addition to this there were some admin issues on my arrival, however, it is now something DSTL is aware of and should be more streamlined in the future.
Because the nature of the summer internship is based around development there is a real focus on training and what you need support on to develop. During my time I completed training on Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft project, Matlab and Labview. All of these are really valuable pieces of software which I am sure I will come across again in my academic and professional career. There is also a wide range of soft skills which naturally develop during the internship which are invaluable.
Sports and Social Club
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
There is a really appealing early careers scheme set up at DSTL which shows a natural progression from Summer internship, to a potential year in industry, to the graduate scheme. Students which are not going into their final year, and hence are not yet eligible to apply for the graduate scheme may be invited back again another summer. In addition to this, the level scheme at DSTL shows clear career progression, with an average level increase every 2-3 years.
There was a really good environment with the other summer interns, especially as everyone is in the same boat and knows how it feels. There was lots of socialising within and without of office hours. Ranging from intern breakfast on Fridays to the pub quiz on Wednesdays. Everyone is really friendly, it is good to go for coffee and catch up with other interns when you can!
I can not really speak on this as I lived at home during my placement. I do know however that other interns found rooms on various sites for a reasonable price each month. Salisbury is the closest city and is a very nice place to be, with lots of nice pubs shops and restaurants.
Yet again I can not really speak on this as I lived at home during my placement, and did not go out in Salisbury. There are lots of nice pubs in Salisbury and there were lots of nights out arranged with the other interns.
Yes there is a group of individuals at DSTL which arrange lots of trips which are really popular. Ranging from going to a pub quiz to a water park. There are also lots of clubs to get involved with. During my time at DSTL I also planned an event which was a great experience and my line manager really appreciated it. I suggest giving it a go if you can.
Internship (1-4 Months)
12th September 2019