VR specialist - assisting with quality processes using virtual reality.
I enjoyed this placement very much. the working hours were comfortable, being able to leave at four meant I still had time in the evening for myself, and the half days on Friday made long weekends possible. Being part of a large intake of interns was comforting as the induction process was well set up and you had a group of peers in the same position as you. Most importantly, the work was interesting and I was given plenty of responsibility without feeling unsupported in my job role.
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Within my team I felt very valued, especially as the work I did was unique to me. My manager and most colleagues treated me with respect, let me speak for my self, and supported me and the feedback I gave. At times I felt disconnected to the other teams situated around me in the office. This is partially due to the specific work I was doing, that rarely crossed into other teams, and the fact as an intern it is hard to jump in to ongoing projects or tasks.
On matters regarding general business or company on-boarding all the colleagues I approached were happy to offer advice and take the time to show me the correct way. I also always felt my manager and their manager backed up my requests and provided excellent support when I had idea, request, or point to make. Due to the work I did I could not go to other colleagues for technical support regarding my specific duties but I was given the freedom to manage my duties myself, set realistic goals and pursue the guidance I needed for my work.
On average I was fairly busy. I managed my own time-frames so for most of the placement I could complete my duties at a comfortable pace. This made most weeks very comfortable and stress free. However, at time the placement could become very busy as daily tasks and meetings got piled up on top on long running projects and research tasks. Especially when deadlines were set by outside teams, I could feel like I was burning out at some points. That said after these high intensity sections I had the flexibility to slow my work down to recover.
During my placement I was given a large amount of responsibility over one project, my main focus for the placement. I was also responsible for other employees during the placement, specifically apprentices going through the company apprenticeship scheme. I also had the opportunity to present my work to upper management and supplier companies multiple times. I did not have any responsibilities out side of my project, although this was because my project took up 100 percent of my time.
The technical skills I gained do not directly apply to my degree. However, the soft skills such a management, leadership, organisation, problem solving. The problem solving especially can be applied to a lot of my degree work and other work in the future. The soft skills are also a great help in applying for future job roles after graduation. The technical skills I developed are something I will continue to take an interest in and keep up to date after my placement.
For the most part the atmosphere was a typical office environment. Around my team and the people I worked with and got to know the atmosphere was friendly and nice to be a part of. Even at times of high intensity no one pressured or micro managed what I was doing. This atmosphere was extended to my direct managers as well, it was rare that I didn't want to come in to the office. The atmosphere between other interns was also very amicable and welcoming.
The application and assessment procedure for the placement was very well organised, however the roles I could apply for were not very clear and fairly generic. There was a lot of ambiguity about what I would be doing when I started, the role I had for most of my placement was not something I applied for. Also, for a big company the induction process at the team level was not very well organised and there was little consistency of the training and induction between my peers and I. At a company wide level the organisation was good.
The company gave me all the training I needed to complete my job role, but I was not given any additional training outside my job role that would require spending departmental budget. Unlike some permanent employees who had the options for additional training, for example language lessons. The company did allow me to go on external training with a software supplier company that assisted in my job role, however this was given freely by the supplier and didn't cost the company anything.
The company very rarely gives graduation offers to interns, so there is no guarantee that if you do a good job you can easily get back in after uni, unlike some companies. However, I do feel my internship has stood me in good stead for applying to other roles both within and outside the company, although there are very few graduate positions available and it is unlikely you would get a position similar to your placement role.
The interns organised a good social routine, meeting at least once a week for drinks and usually planning group activities at the weekends. This was organised for all interns across the plant, regardless of which department they were in. It was a great opportunity to meet a variety of new people. Even after the impacts of lock down, regular zoom and Skype calls meant most interns could remain in contact, share information and continue to be social.
Oxford is a fairly expensive city to rent and live in. Being a university town there can be stiff competition for good reasonably priced housing. Most student accommodating is situated in a different part of the city than the plant which can be a plus, for cheaper housing but there is less of it. The cost of socializing isn't the cheapest either, being a historic city and a popular tourist attraction, however it is not unreasonable.
The nightlife was typical of a university city.
There were a few opportunities to get involved with sporting or charity activities outside the plant, these were communicated via email.