My year with NATS was considerably better than I could have ever imagined. While not always easy, the work was good fun and very rewarding. Everyone does their bit to ensure we continue to provide a quality service, and you feel a real sense of responsibility, regardless of your role. Outside day to work, there is a range of opportunities to get involved in for personal development and to support the wider company community.
There was a great sense of community, both of my teams welcomed me in and was great to learn from them in engaging and friendly ways. The early careers community is a nice size, allowing you to integrate and make connections throughout the company, benefiting your learning and day to day work.
Everyone around me was keen to support and encourage me on placement, however both my managers were keen to check in on both my work and development. On many occasions, they would go above and beyond to create opportunities to push me out of my comfort zone. If you had any issues, they were always happy to help.
With big projects and tight timescales, there is plenty of work to be done, so no time for sitting around. Work was always real and not fictional. Days with back to back meetings did take place and there were occasions where 12 hours were spent in the office, but time was always given back on these rare occasions.
This varied slightly between my two projects while on placement. However in both cases, I had key responsibilities I was accountable for delivering on time and in situations, within a tight budget. I felt for my level, I was given just enough responsibility, where I felt like I had an important part to play, but wasn't going to cause me too much stress. I felt many around me were conscious of how much responsibility I did have, and were ready to increase or decrease it accordingly.
Working in the office environment is like nothing you have to deal with at university, and will aid me greatly in my final year of university and help in applications for graduate positions. Soft skill development, communication, presentation skills and general self confidence have all been tested and developed while on placement.
The atmosphere at times, was busy and stressful, with a lot going on and a lot of deadlines. However that isn't unique so learning to work in such environments is useful experience. However everyone is very social and happy to have a laugh and joke and go to the pub at the right time.
The early careers team is well established at NATS, providing a range of practical support. Due to the nature of the work, they aren't always able to help with work specific issues. Introduction was well organised and was great at helping me get up to speed with company specific ways of working.
There is a wide range of learning material available to employees, which we are encouraged to enjoy and utilise. Alongside this, if you show energy towards completing a particular course they are often happy to facilitate this into your work. We were given extensive initial training when we started, key to support day to work, in a niche industry. All company training is delivered very well.
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
The company has a very well planned and linked placement to graduate transition, allowing for a familiar and well established programme as a graduate, available in a range of business and engineering areas. Given the fun and experiences I have had on placement, I am looking forward to hearing if I have been successful to return after graduating.
With around 50-70 early careers members across apprenticeships, placements and grad roles, there is a big enough community to integrate into while ensuring you don't feel like you can't be part of it. We organised a range of charity events throughout the year for the business and organised a conference for the company. Many students live together and regular socials take place (both company organised and self organised).
The area isn't the cheapest in the country, but not unreasonably expensive. Prices fluctuate a lot depending on location. But rooms in shared houses were between 450 and 550 a month, bills included. Public transport is pretty well connected, though always rooms for improvement. The office is a decent walk from the station.
Being based next to two big cities, there is plenty of nightlife in Portsmouth and Southampton, and not a million miles from other areas - Guildford, Winchester and Bournemouth, all big student locations with a range of suitable nightlife. Just a shame you are often stuck to weekends, with work Mon - Fri.
There are plenty of local charities and organisations for people to get involved in during their spare time. Within work, there are a range of social and sports clubs - many offering great discounts for staff. There is scope for more activities, but you wouldn't be disappointed with whats on offer.
Placement Year (10 Months+)