My placement year at BAE was very enjoyable and I would recommend to anyone looking for a placement which will both further your education and allow you to enjoy yourself during your placement year to apply for BAE. My role involved work and tasks that were challenging but very interesting. Overall, I had a very good experience and would recommend BAE Systems to anybody looking for a work placement.
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I felt extremely welcomed by the team I was in which allowed me to look forward going in to work every day. My colleagues were extremely friendly and understood that, as a placement student, you are there to learn as much as possible which the majority went above and beyond to help me do so. They also valued my opinion on issues, and were often grateful for my different perspective on things.
My placement managers were extremely helpful from the day that I arrived and throughout each day in my placement. They answered any questions I had, and would guide me through tasks patiently to ensure I was learning and understanding what I was doing. They encouraged me to do extra-curricular activities that the company provided in work time to ensure I got a broad understanding and knowledge of different areas of the company, and not just the area that I worked in. The 'Early Careers' team, who were responsible for Industrial Placement students, also offered great support for almost every issue.
My first few weeks were relatively slow as I was just getting into things, however, moving through the year I got involved in many different tasks and had things to be involved in. There were times when I felt a little overwhelmed with the amount of tasks I was being asked to do, but it was a great learning curve and I received support from my placement manager and colleagues when I voiced my concerns.
I was given a lot more responsibility than I anticipated before starting which was a nice surprise. Some of the tasks I was asked to do were important and made me feel valued in the team that I was trusted with such responsibility. I was also supported by my colleagues when I required which really helped me to deal with the responsibility I was given.
The skills I developed will assist me for the rest of my career. I learnt a lot of skills being involved in tasks every day in the office, and also booking on to training courses that were provided by the company. I developed a variety of both soft and hard skills that are applicable to any career path I choose to go down.
My team got along well and was consistently light and fun. There was a good mix between having fun and allowing people to get work done. There was no tension amongst colleagues and going in to work felt a lot easier as there was always a lot of laughs throughout the day.
The induction week was ran by the previous year's placement students and was a little unorganised which didn't allow the best start to my placement. The rest of the work placement was relatively well organised, I was put into a team that had enough work for me to get involved with and I had regular reviews throughout the year to check on my progress.
The company provided a wide variety of training sessions to aid development throughout the year. They invested a lot of time into ensuring we were put in a good position to develop as much as possible. There were a few training programmes I wasn't allowed to get involved in due to me only being in the company for a year before I went back to university, which is understandable.
BAE Systems offer a great graduate programme, many of whom I met whilst completing my work placement. As long as you get the required grade from your placement manager, the chance to come back to the company after finishing university is there. Many of the current graduates I spoke to really enjoyed the programme and highly recommended.
Myself and fellow placement students organised quite a lot of social events and nights out at the weekends. There was also a high contingent of apprentices and graduates within the organisation, all organising social events as one big group or in smaller groups. With all of us placement students being away from home, we planned quite a few things after work on weekdays too.
The cost of living was very cheap and allowed me to have a good amount left from my monthly wage to go out socialising. The cost of drinks, food and activities was also cheap and allowed us to have a great time when socialising. There were a few places that were a little more expensive to live and socialise, but this gave a great variety to cater for people with different wants and requirements.
It was always very busy on a weekend when going out, but not as busy as you may expect in a major city. Although it was quite a small town, there were quite a lot of options for places to go, but again there wasn't as many places you would expect in a University city. There were a lot of nice places to go and I thoroughly every night I went out.
Similar to the problem with the nightlife, there was a limited amount of activities to get involved in outside of work. There were a few sports clubs and a good amount of restaurants to visit, but there were occasions towards the end of my work placement that I struggled to find something different to do that I had not done a few times before.