I enjoyed the virtual experience quite a bit. There were many different aspects of the engineering involved. In particular, I really enjoyed learning more about biomedical engineering as it suited my interests. There were also loads of tasks to do so it felt more like I was working than learning and this was quite helpful for me.
I did feel quite valued during my time at the company as I was asked to submit quite a substantial amount of work so I did not feel completely useless. However, it was hard to feel valued as I was not exactly present with the other members of my team so I did not really know my place within the team.
I received a lot of guidance and support throughout the virtual experience from the whole team. I was provided with learning resources and a lot of guidance at the beginning to help me with working on the tasks I was given and to help me to understand more about the institute and what they do/
I think that I developed many skills during this placement. Most notably, I gained a lot of knowledge on biomedical engineering which I will certainly carry forth with me. I also developed skills such as time management and meeting deadlines while working so far away from everyone else and this also taught me how vital communication is.
I think that the virtual experience was extremely well done. It felt as though I was not disadvantaged from it being virtual instead of me actually being there. This is because of their effective method of delivery which made the things that I needed to know much easier to learn and apply to my tasks.
It did get quite boring as I was working by myself and only occassionally got to talk to the other members of the team. This sometimes made it quite hard to stay motivated, personally. I would have much preferred if we had more virtual meetings to make us feel like more of a team.
I personally think that they did invest quite a lot in me in terms of personal training and development as I would have one-on-one sessions with my supervisor which helped me to learn and grow from what I had previously done. Despite the difficulties in delivering this online, I felt like it was effective.
The experience partially helped me to understand what it would be like to have a full time role with the institute. On one of the first sessions, they explained the different roles within the institute and they explained the different perks available and even had staff talking about these experiences. However, I would have greatly benefitted from actually being there at the workplace.
The virtual experience did a very good job in helping me to understand company culture. As said above, they explained the different perks available and even explained the key values of the company and this helped me to understand what they were looking for in an employee and exactly what the company stands for.
The experience made me realise that there are actually a wide variety of fields within the broader field of engineering and it has actually made me really interested in biomedical engineering, which infuses my love of biology with such. Therefore, I have recently been searching for careers within the field of biomedical engineering.
I was paid adequately for this experience and the work that I was doing for the company. Since it was virtual, I did not have any major costs of travel/living that needed to be reimbursed by the company but some software that I did have to install was provided for by the company.
There were a few opportunities to meet other employees on the team. We sometimes had virtual meetings to discuss the project and work we were doing but this was mainly very formal and it would be nicer to get to know them more as this really only focused on the work they were doing, not who they actually were.
As stated above, I found that the networking opportunities were lacking because all meetings that we had were very work-oriented. Though they happened quite frequently, I did not really get an opportunity to get to know all of my team very well because of the obvious barriers imposed by virtual meetings.
I did find out about activities that employees can get involved in outside of work. These were mainly mentioned in one of the earlier sessions when they were discussing company culture and I found out that there were often opportunities to undertake research alongside the research teams at other universities as well as at other companies.
I would definitely recommend this virtual experience to a friend, especially if they were interested in the field of engineering. There is a lot of information and knowledge shared about engineering from the members of the team and this can be invaluable at job interviews or other opportunities in the field of STEM.
16th June 2020