Working on human efficacy testing of products, doing literature reviews, and working with other teams for product development.
I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at BAT. For me personally, the best part was the versatility of my role whereby I could decide on my own projects and I have found myself working in several different scientific areas. My department was brilliant, and has such a wide range of research areas that you naturally become involved in a variety of projects and topics.
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I felt very valued as an employee within my department. Nobody looked down on me because I was an intern, and I very quickly became integrated into the team. I believe you get out of the placement what you put in, and by networking and speaking to colleagues about their projects and what your expertise is in, there is always somewhere you can fit and you can play in important role within the team.
My Line Manager was brilliant this year, giving me guidance when I needed it but also letting me have some space to find my feet and complete my projects when needed. The placement team were also an extremely good resource, offering advice and support when needed and encouraging us to attend workshops for skills development.
Due to the nature of my work, it tends to be on either end of the extremes with a month or so of working long hours and feeling non-stop, followed by a period of being a bit quieter. For me, this was the perfect balance as after a while you begin to appreciate the quieter times and I've always enjoyed being busy.
During my placement I would manage a couple of projects at a time, whilst also supporting projects throughout the department and into the wider R&D. It was made clear at the start of my placement that the projects I was doing were important and valuable to the business. This was backed up by my having to present project proposals and results to senior members of BAT R&D.
I think these will help me for both University study and my future career. Soft skills I have developed such as networking and having the confidence to approach people are invaluable, and will certainly help me in any future employment. The training provided as part of the placement in creating and presenting scientific posters, and presenting to large audiences will certainly help me in University for final presentations, and in the future through building my confidence in speaking to groups and senior colleagues.
Overall, it's comfortable and calm. There's an open-door policy within the company so colleagues are extremely approachable - from people you work with daily up to the more senior figures. Everybody is open-minded and easy to talk to which makes the working day much easier to navigate!
The placement was very well-planned when we arrived. Most things ran smoothly, and any issues that came up were dealt with promptly. In terms of the work progress, my Line Manager had a great plan set in place for when I started, and I never really felt as though anything I was doing wasn't relevant to our workstream, or that it was an ad hoc project that wouldn't contribute to or lead to any other work.
The company offers a wide range of training courses, from scientific writing to presentation skills to management and as a placement student you are encouraged to attend as many as possible. The placement team run intern-specific training on scientific posters, presenting, and CV writing which is also extremely helpful. The company encourages you to do as much as possible with your time here, through sending you to BAT HQ in London to encouraging you to attend workshops outside of the company also.
I think placement students generally have a very high return rate, and you do meet a lot of returning students during your time at BAT. I certainly would recommend this company, and although I don't plan on coming back any time soon, I will always consider it for my future career.
This year there were 14 interns which was a great number, and at the start of the year we did a lot together in terms of exploring the city and attending events. In terms of colleagues the company hosts a lot of socials (especially around Christmas) that enables you to see your team outside of a working-day setting which was great.
Generally, Southampton is relatively expensive compared to some other areas I've lived in but it is not bad, as long as you get a house with cheaper rent and account for the cost of commuting.
Southampton has a University, so it was easy to find the student areas and figure out the best student bars. The nightlife was good, it was slightly more difficult as you have a Monday to Friday job so compared to being a University student, finding time and energy to go out in the evening was difficult at times.
I think it depends on what your interests are. There are many clubs and socials around Southampton, and the likelihood is that some of your colleagues would go so it would not be difficult to do this. The company also offer gym classes, and have 5-a-side football and a choir if you wanted to do something during the working day so I would say the chances are pretty good.