I really enjoyed my placement. I was a part of many different projects that, 'pre-covid', involved lots of travelling across the UK and Europe. My manager was great and would always try and give me as much experience with different parts of the business as possible. The work was challenging but enjoyable and I particularly enjoyed being able to apply my technical knowledge from university to solve real life problems Air Products were having on some depots.
Very valued. I would often have to speak/present to upper management about tasks and projects my team were working on. I became part of a small team that were the specialists in packaged gas automation and I was trusted from the start to engage with suppliers and outline Air Products' business to them. I also had my placement extended past the year long contract and was also asked to work part time at uni to complete one of my projects.
I had regular meetings to go over my current workload and discuss the work I was doing. If I had any questions it was very easy to get hold of my manager and she would be more than happy to assist with any issues I was having. No question seemed like a stupid question and everyone I worked with was always keen to help. When lockdown hit my manager set up regular skype calls to make sure not only my workload was achievable but also to make sure I was coping well with the situation.
I would say I was the perfect balance. Some days were busier when I would get requests from people to do a certain piece of work or to fix an issue they were having. On days when that didn't happen I could get on with other jobs I had including a project to create a camera to inspect cylinders that always kept me busy as I was working independently and rapid prototyping. This placement helped develop my time management skills.
From very early on in my placement I was given a project that I was individually working on. This was for a piece of equipment that would eventually end up in all of our cylinder re-test centres across Europe. I also made the first contact with a lot of automation suppliers so had to be the representative for Air Products in a lot of discussions. I would regularly lead meetings and also present the teams current findings to upper management.
My manager was very happy for me to teach myself different programs to assist with my role. In doing so I have taught myself how to computer program/3D design and 3D print. These will all be skills that I can use for university studies and beyond. I have also developed many skills associated with working in a large multinational company, not least my communication and team working skills. I have participated in many training courses at Air Products and been a part of a HAZOP which will strengthen my safety knowledge for university.
I worked in Basingstoke in a small office with only 20 employees on any one day. This created a very friendly atmosphere. Despite us all being in different parts of the business everyone in the office was very keen to assist with anything I was finding difficult. I leant a lot from everyone in the office and was able to utilise this knowledge in my own role. There were multiple placement students who all got on really well with regular social meet ups.
Air Products are very experienced with having placement students and this showed. There was a very smooth transition and handover from my predecessor despite there being no face to face interaction with them. I had everything I needed for my placement (leptop etc) that I would need for my role on the first day and was set up on the system within minutes. HR were very responsive if I had any queries regarding pay etc.
I have had training throughout my placement. When I started my placement my manager said this year is as much about my development as it is for me to do a job for Air Products. I have had customer engineering training, oxygen safety training, lock out-tag out training to name a few. Not only this but my supervisor was happy for me to invest time in teaching myself different computer programs to assist with my role.
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
The graduate role at Air Products is very appealing. As a placement student you get to know many of the graduates within Air Products and hear how they are finding the scheme. With a 3 year scheme and yearly rotations to a different role it allows you to try a few of the different roles in the company, learning what you'd like to do after the 3 years. My manager has encouraged me to apply for this and the future employment prospects seem bright.
The placement students in Basingstoke were very social and would regularly meet up outside of work for nights out/ drinks after work etc. The majority of the placement students were located in Hersham but still made an effort to travel to Basingstoke for the social meet ups. Air Products have a placement/grad council that organises social events which were a great way to get to know all the other placements and grads. These were not only drinking socials but also non-drinking ones.
The cost of living and socialising was relatively cheap but that's because my university is in Guildford where everything is expensive. There was a lot to do in basingstoke from ice skating to indoor skydiving. It was all very affordable on the Air Products wage. I lived a walking distance from the office so saved a lot of money in commuting costs. Basingstoke has every shop under the sun so you can go to the cheapest supermarkets if you want to.
The nightclub was absolute filth, especially the downstairs cheese room. One night my girlfriend actually broke her tooth because the floor was so slippery so she faceplanted the floor. This did not stop us going and I would recommend the nightclub, Fever, in Basingstoke to anyone. Just be careful of the locals as they like a scrap. If you want a quieter night out there are a few nice cocktail bars and pubs that are open late for some nice evening drinks.
The Air Products council have a council with 2 social secs that organise at least one event a month. These were easy to get involved in and the organisers always made it so people from either Basingstoke or Hersham could easily attend. When Covid hit this became more difficult but zoom quizzes and other virtual games were held to keep up the social interaction between the graduates and placement students. If lockdown hadn't happened there would have been many events to get involved in
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
4th August 2020