If you join DePuy Synthes as a Bio-engineer student you will work alongside a team who specifically work on developing products for knee replacements. You will gain exposure to designing implants and surgery procedures, test products and develop new concepts for medical devices. Throughout the year you will provide support/assistance for specifying product designs and influencing the choice of raw materials, processes and equipment necessary to develop and manufacture products.
• Assist in providing technical support for products in development, and existing product lines to markets and other functions
• Assist in the preparation of documentation for Design History Files and project documentation in accordance with regulatory and company procedures
• May handle several projects concurrently depending on the magnitude of each
• Work closely with surgeons to gain an in-depth understanding of the knee replacement procedure
• Work alongside the design engineer to implement tools to improve procedure
• Test products (either computationally or physically)
It was a great year, I learnt a lot that I can bring back to my university course and for my future career. Everyone was really welcoming and made sure that you got what you wanted out of the placement. There were amazing extras to working for JnJ including free gym and PT sessions, staff shop of JnJ products, exercise reimbursement and football / climbing/ gardening clubs. There was many opportunities to do volunteering within and outside of the company with 5 paid days of volunteering a year. Also a large group of around 20 students in Leeds provided a great friendship group. The work itself was really interesting and I got to have some many more amazing experiences than I would have if I didn't do this year.
I was treated the same as all my other colleagues, with similar work given and their belief in my ability was the same. While you are treated equally to others, they do realise that you are only a student so everyone in the team is eager to help you with anything you need, and also provide many opportunities to expand your knowledge into other fields that are not necessarily to do with the major projects you are working on. You will find times that you will be given the "student" type jobs, but these are few and far between and small quick tasks. You do feel like a member of the team and not just the student.
I had weekly meetings with my manager where we discussed: how I am doing, what work I had that week, if I wanted any more work and any opportunities for work that she believed would be a good experience for me. She helped me to set up goals for the year and had discussions on what I want out of the year and how I was to achieve this. She helped to ensure that I wasn't being overloaded with work, or equally, that I had enough work to do.
As with most jobs it changed from day to day. Some days I was given 3 or 4 tasks that needed done that day, and some days I had just finished projects and didn't have much to do. However overall I thought that there was a pretty good balance, so I wasn't too busy, but wasn't doing nothing. If I was very busy with urgent tasks, they were generally quick to complete or I informed my manager that I was struggling and we worked together to how I could work through them. I also found that if I wasn't that busy, while I was waiting for work everyone was happy for me to spend some time doing personal development whether that be practising CAD, FEA, or doing internal training on a variety of topics. I found that myself and my manager kept my tasks under control so that when I was coming to the end of a task I was already lining another up, or if I was beginning to look busy I knew I could say no to any more tasks.
I had different projects and tasks throughout the year which had varying levels of responsibility. I had studies/ reports that I completed individually and just had checks by more senior members of staff. I was also part of a team where the responsibilities were spread out, and depending on how busy people were, I tended to get the less important work, but it was still equally informative. I did have a few "student" type tasks but they weren't that often and didn't take up that much time. There were times (more at the beginning) when I felt that I had almost too much responsibility and also times that I felt I was barely contributing, but overall I felt like I was included as part of the team but the tasks given were appropriate for my level of study.
I haven't gone back to university yet but I believe that what I've learnt will be invaluable when I do go back. I learnt so much, not just in terms of engineering knowledge, but I've also learnt about how to brainstorm effectively, managing my time, presenting myself, my confidence has increased massively and general work and life skills like communication and teamwork etc . I had so many opportunities for training in everything from excel, to more internal specific training, diversity and inclusion, sustainability and many more. I feel like I am definitely more employable, confident, knowledgeable and ready for the rest of my university course and for my future career
The atmosphere in the office was really good. Everyone was really friendly and would stop by just for a quick chat throughout the day. There was weekly bake off competitions, a lot of people would have tea breaks together for a quick chat, and many meetings were very chilled and enjoyable.
The application process was very smooth until it came to the assessment centre, we were only told maybe a week before when it would be, (we were told we would be informed a month before), and the times changed the day before we were due to arrive. The group induction and hiring process otherwise were very smooth. During the placement, my role specifically was heavily influenced by the projects your manger is undertaking, and due to unforeseen circumstances, that changed throughout the year, so it was difficult to have a large scale project like many other students had. Whilst saying that, there was plenty of important and valuable work that I completed and my manger was amazing at helping me find work that I wanted to do and would help me in the future.
The students were treated as full time members of staff in terms of any training that could be done. I completed many training course with external companies at the expense of JnJ, and they also provided an abundance of internal training in a variety of experiences from managing energy and time, presenting, inclusion and diversity, how to communicate in different forms and anatomy training in a cadaver lab. I was also lucky to attend 3 engineering cadaver labs as part of a team project that required hotel stays and transport.
I would love to be able to come back and join the grad scheme once I finish my course. There is no direct offer from the company to return to the grad scheme, however when applying you can get a referral from someone you worked within the placement year. From talking and working with the grads, the grad scheme seems very impressive, you get 4 rotations of 6 months in different departments to really see the whole of R&D and tends to lead to full time employment
There was around 20 or so other placement students and quite often may of them would house share. This year especially a good cohort of around 10-12 of us were very close, and I have made so many new friends. Even with the more senior colleagues there is a good social scene in that many of us would go out for dinner/ drinks together occasionally and also had team bonding by doing CSR volunteering days. Everyone is very friendly and with the sports/ gardening clubs, sustainability, diversity and inclusion and STEM internal teams you can get to know a wider variety of people.
Most of the student placements rented houses in the student area of the city (in the north, Hyde Park, Headingly area) which can be a bit expensive. Average rent may be around £100 a week in this area, however it is a 20 min drive or an hour bus ride to get to work from here. For socialising most people would tend to go to Leeds city centre which I think is around average for the cost of a meal or a pint and has plenty to do.
Being a Leeds University student myself I have had experience with Leeds nightlife, and it's amazing. However many of the good events do tend to be during the week, but there is still plenty going on on the weekends. With quite a large student population there is always some events going on and many student discounts. As long as you are productive some weekday nights out are acceptable.
There are many clubs run by other members of staff such as football for both those just playing for fun and more competitive teams, there is a group of people that go climbing together and a gardening and allotment club. There is also the free gym PT and exercise reimbursement scheme which are good for those looking to stay active. You also have 5 days of paid leave for volunteering whether that be internally or externally.