1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I had a fantastic year at Knorr-Bremse. For one, my EHS placement was highly rewarding as I was able to contribute to many different areas of the business. I was also lucky enough to regularly shadow and learn from the UK EHSQ Director, which was highly beneficial in enhancing my skillset for future employment. Finally, I can only admire the social work ethic at Knorr-Bremse - Every day was a challenge workwise but I was always laughing, and I can only thank the wonderful colleagues and friends I made here for allowing me to be myself and guiding me during difficult work-periods.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
At Knorr-Bremse students are not students, they are treated like full time employees. I always felt valued by my colleagues and respected, despite overcoming a couple of hurdles. I believe the nature of my placement and the circumstances in which it happened made it difficult at times when trying to portray messages of Health and Safety, nevertheless, I always felt support behind me in delivering the right message, whether that be from my own colleagues, other departments, or even senior management - Knorr-Bremse is one big team and this is the reason the company has had so much success.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was given excellent support throughout. Despite unforeseen circumstances and a change in manager mid-way through my placement; I overcame these challenges through the help of my supervisors. During the adjustment period, support from Senior Management was superb and I was also able to work closely with the experienced facilities department which gave me a wider understanding of the business.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
There were points in the placement, through my own doing, I took on too much work, however, Knorr-Bremse offers a relaxing work environment where I could easily overcome stress and ask for support if necessary. At the start, through no fault of the company, my manager asked me to read legislation and I wasn't the busiest, however, soon after I was involved in many projects, collaborating with various areas of the business. I learnt and completed tasks I had no idea would be part of the role. For me, all of this was incredible exposure and will hopefully provide the framework to my skillset I can apply in future jobs.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given huge responsibility on my placement.
My responsibilities ranged from Quarterly financial/environmental reporting, conducting risk assessments, DSE, First Aid, updating LOPs, New Fleet car proposal, Enviro improvements, Chair of EHS committee, EHS Mandatory training (fire, manual handling, COSHH), Fire procedure, enviro awareness, method for calculating fuel usage, inspections, Team Cascade presenter, organising IOSH training, emergency spill cleanup, ERT training, ordering PPE, approving paints, COSHH
To be honest, the list could go on - the main point however is that Knorr Bremse puts incredible trust in its students, and I sincerely hope I was able to repay this trust through the work I completed during my placement.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
As previously stated, I massively enhanced my repertoire of transferable skills during my placement. It was incredibly diverse and taught me so much, which has helped me focus on what I would like to do as a career. I believe the placement also makes entering final year of University a little bit easier, where you can get in a routine of working frequently as you are used to it. Hopefully, hard work this year will pay off and I can use my skills learned at Knorr-Bremse in my future career.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office atmosphere was always good. Despite some noisy periods, I was always able to complete work with no trouble and the relaxed atmosphere made it easy for me to advise others when required as part of my role. The office is open plan and fairly large, however, all this makes it even more pleasant to work in.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The placement scheme itself was very well organised and highly professional, with regular reviews taking place with managers and everything scheduled in online calendars. My own placement was not seamless in organisation, however, this could not be helped and I much preferred not doing the same thing everyday. EHS is a hugely diverse role which I would only recommend to others.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
The company was fantastic, providing me with in-house Health and Sfafety training and train the trainer meaning I could deliver manual handling training. I was also trained in fire extinguisher, fire marshal, COSHH. I completed a DSE assessors course, First Aid at Work, IOSH Managing Safely.
All was paid for by the company and expenses on the days.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
For me, I believe my future lies outside of Knorr-Bremse, who have already hired a fantastic Health and Safety Manager and Advisor. However, the year has taught me many things, and my employment prospects have been massively enhanced, through the huge responsibilities and workload I was trusted with at KB.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
All the students got on very well, and many will remain friends after the placement. We would regularly socialise outside of work and I can personally say I met some great people during my placement. We would go play football, go out in Bath, Bristol or even Trowbridge! The benefit of the Knorr-Bremse placement scheme is there are 15 other people in the same position as you, but in a different department, so you regularly get to collaborate, as well as have plenty of opportunity to socialise.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Unfortunately, the cost of living near Bath is quite high, especially if you're from the North like me. However, Knorr-Bremse pays well and I never struggled for money, therefore there's not much to worry about in terms of expense. If you're careful with money, then you can complete the year comfortably.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I lived in Trowbridge, which I cannot recommend to anyone for a night out - avoid Boutique if you can and go to Bath or Bristol, both of which are decent.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes, I played football, badminton, watched football and went out with colleagues all outside of work. People at work organised things like badminton and football, and social activities were organised by the company, such as the Christmas party, and departmental activities. I saw many colleagues outside of work, not always just students, which highlights the social work ethic of Knorr Bremse.