1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I loved my time at BuroHappold. I felt my internship gave me a great insight into what working there would be. I was worried they might give me tasks that would not necessarily reflect what an engineer there would be doing, but instead, from day 1, I was working on a project as an extra member of the team.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Although all my colleagues realised that I still have a lot to learn, they supported and encouraged me. I always felt there was someone I could ask questions to.
I particularly appreciated that one of the Associate Engineers in the team, talked me through the design solution he was thinking of, and he asked me what I thought about it. I felt he genuinely valued my opinion even though I am still learning about it.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My manager was always happy to answer my questions. I appreciated she was honest with her answers and she spent the time needed to explain the reasons why if I did not understand something.
Other colleagues from the team were also available to help when I asked, although it was intimidating to ask others as everyone seemed so busy. However, when I spoke to them outside of the office, they always said they would be happy to help or answer my questions, which they did.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Sometimes, when I got stuck or finished a task, I had to wait for my manager to have time for me, as she was very busy. However, this was not a daily thing, and I would make use of this time to read more about the project I was working on. Therefore, I feel there was always something I could do, but it sometimes had to come from me to be proactive and look for things to better inform my knowledge about the projects I worked on.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Everything I did was to be checked and signed off by someone else, which is the normal process for engineering. I felt I had appropriate responsibility for the level of my experience and involvement. I felt responsible to complete the tasks I was asked to do but no other responsibility.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Working at BuroHappold during the summer helped me consolidate my understanding about Building Services learnt in theory at University. Now, back at University I feel more confident and able to succeed this year, because I feel I have now a good base of understanding, which I only developed by working in real life projects and learning from practising engineers at BuroHappold.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
It was great, my team was very welcoming from day 1. They invited me to join them for lunch everyday and I felt included in team. Most of the people in my team were sociable. Other teams in the office did not seam as sociable, but I still found everyone I met was friendly and welcoming.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Everything was well organised, when I arrived I had a desk and a laptop ready for me and HR ensured I completed my Health and Safety training and also learnt about BuroHappold as a company. The team coordinator was also a great help, and she was caring and ensured I new what I had to do in terms of submitting timesheets or other administrative queries.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Early on in my internship I was invited to an introduction to Revit, which was the main software I would be using. This was useful to get me started but I found myself learning more from the technicians in my team and also my manager, who would show me as needed what I had to do, because I was not very confident with it.
BuroHappold also covered my expenses to take the Health and Safety training to obtain a CSCS card, which will last me 5 years.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Very. I am planning on applying for a graduate position.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There is a Young Engineers Forum, which organises social events and invited all the interns so we could meet each other as well as meeting people from other departments. They run events regularly, so I felt there was always an opportunity to socialise with people in the office, which I really enjoyed.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I worked in Bath but lived in Bristol. I found Bath was not cheap for drinks, but I am sure you would be able to find cheaper drinks if you went to certain chains. Bristol is great for socialising and in terms of living costs, Bristol is a bit less expensive than Bath, but you have to consider how much the commute Bristol-Bath is.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Bath seemed to have some nightlife, but I did not engage much in it whilst I was there. However, Bristol's is great! There is something for all tastes.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
I did not take advantage of this, but I believe there were often sports activities at lunchtime and after work that everyone was welcomed to join.