I enjoyed the work placement year overall and had many challenges to overcome. Of course there are some tedious aspects of any jobs, but the work environment was pleasant in terms of both the people and the actual office area. The office location was located in a 'busy' area in terms of driving traffic so made commuting difficult and tiresome. The work was fulfilling with most of the time options to complete other tasks if there was not much work. There was also multiple opportunities and experiences in terms of out of the office training, interviews and careers fairs.
I felt like I was part of the team once I completed the 4 week handover by having lots of responsibilities to complete work on time and to a high standard. Also, the people in the office were welcoming and always happy to help if you had a question or needed help.
There was lots of training at the start of the placement due to the big learning curve and help was always available for when you had a question. There was also monthly catch up meetings with your manager to check up on your progress. This was enough for me to bring up any issues I had.
The work varied very much from week to week due to the nature of the job. Depending on which point of the release cycle you were in would determine the amount of work. For example just before release you would be extremely busy with tasks to complete with a deadline for the release but post release as development would slow down, so would the amount of work. Generally there was enough work to keep you busy throughout the day but was slow and fast days.
After the first 4 weeks being a hand over period where you are just learning from the previous intern, you are thrown into testing tasks right away which is very tough but is the best way to learn. You are generally the only QA on the team so is your responsibility to complete all the testing as thoroughly as possible. While you don't complete any software development, you are still important in the grand scheme of the software package as without the QA the product wouldn't be able to release.
My skills in many areas have come on very far since starting the placement. The area of work was more in terms of software development so not directly related to engineering but the software was very much aimed at thermal analysis so in that area was much more targeted.
The office was a chilled out place to work. It was generally quiet as people were working with the occasionally louder discussion as people would chat about their day/work. Was temperature regulated with AC and heater working well during summer and winter months. There were some bigger and smaller personalities like all places but the gel of them worked out well with people balancing each other out. Similar environment for the other UK offices from my short time training there.
The set up for the placement was very good overall. There were lots of IT issues at the start of the year but for the most part got fixed quickly with a few exceptions. The managers had done it for multiple years so knew what common issues would arise and how to deal with them.
They invest lots of time and money to develop the interns as much as they could. They paid for our interview travel, trips, accommodation and for our laptops with fully installed software. They also gave us access to all sorts of training both online and in person. You had lots of opportunities to learn and gain new experiences.
Working from home
There are multiple placement students who have gone on to work full time at Mentor so is appealing to get a job back in the same company. Would be more interested in doing a slightly different role than the current QA role though as I feel it would be more challenging.
There was a good social environment between fellow interns as we got to see them everyday and would often go out for lunch or walks etc. Also got to chat online with interns from other offices and meet them in person during training days. During lunch other colleagues were friendly.
I was living at home at the time of the placement year but in terms of the office area, it was just within London so there is social places and events you can do but it is London prices. I am not sure on the exact cost of living in the area but I hear it is very expensive. Would recommend either commuting from home or getting a place outside of London and commute in.
The closest big town centre was Kingston and I went there only once and it was a good night. Was expensive but none the less enjoyable. Would recommend going elsewhere in London for a better time.
There were opportunities after training exercises for example going into Nottingham town centre for food. drinks and social activities. During lunch people would often go out for walks together to get some fresh air and be away from their desks for time. There was less chances for after work activities partly due to our younger age and partly due to myself living far away from the office.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
21st August 2020