My experience working at GE Aviation was invaluable. I had the opportunity to work with members from several departments on different projects which not only helped build my interpersonal skills but also encouraged me to develop technical skills by observing how experienced team members approach problems. This was especially important due to the main project I worked on being a research and development program. Exploring new technologies for aviation was thrilling. It was great to have been able to be a part of that project which I hope to see progress further in the news.
The team I worked with were very supportive. From the day I started, there was not a single day where a question I had went unanswered. There were different channels available for the different questions I had. My colleagues understood I was a university student and looked for ways to help me bridge the gap from student to employee. I was given regular feedback on how I was doing and tips on improving. This was very important to me because at times in my academic career I felt hindered by not knowing where things had gone wrong.
I had regular weekly meetings with my manager, regular daily meetings with my project manager and 3 meetings with my university supervisor. Overall it is exactly what I needed to make the transition into the role. These meetings were a mix of team meetings and one to one meetings with managers to track professional development and to address any issues or concerns that I may be facing. This level of support was ideal for me.
On a research and development project, I was given lots of encouragement to plan my own tasks so that I was not over stretched and at the same time not left with anything to do. The project manager was especially helpful by having regular meetings to track my progress and make charts and plans for the new tasks to complete for the next milestone. During the WFH period due to coronavirus at the end of my internship it was a lot harder to keep this balance going.
I was given a lot of responsibility. I was expected to plan my tasks independently and get going with assistance when needed. I had several people who I worked closely with that aided me in doing this. There were times where work was tough but never a point where it was overly stressful. The culture at GE allowed me to let my manager know when deadlines were unreasonable or unlikely to be met and we could make a new plan to work around that.
As a software engineering intern primarily programming in C#, I was able to learn C# from scratch despite never having used it before. I now use C# to develop applications for Windows and Android using Xamarin in my spare time. Similarly, some of these skills will directly help me to find a role in C# software engineering. I was able to develop interpersonal skills through various workshops which would also help me in interviews, when working in a team and in my personal life to make me more confident.
The general atmosphere was very enjoyable. Working alongside people of all ages and backgrounds really helped me to learn more about what other people do in their spare time. From car restoration to travelling. As well as learning tips and tricks for completing technical tasks more easily and efficiently. There were many inclusion and diversity events which were enjoyable. Fridays were casual clothes days which was a nice way to end the week. Overall very positive!
The application process was very tough with a prerecorded video interview which I did not like. Talking to myself while being recorded was not comfortable. Unlike a normal conversation, there was no acknowledgement so I felt like I was not answering the pre-recorded questions well enough. After I moved to the in person interview, It was a very good opportunity to display my skills with the interview questions. It was seamless to inform my university that it was arranged and they got in touch with my manager afterwards.
There were many e learning courses available and training for how to safely perform tasks in the lab. There were various sessions to learn about topics which weren't specific for the project. I was also able to present a topic to my colleagues too. One to one sessions were also available to develop interpersonal skills. Group sessions were available to learn more about new technologies and how they can be used in our work place too.
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
Working from home
GE offer a graduate program called the Edison program which interns are encouraged to apply for. There were several sessions which went through the recruitment process and what its like to be a part of the program. It looks to be a very interesting opportunity to learn and develop skills which I picked up during my internship and at university. I will be sure to apply when the scheme becomes available as it is a very good opportunity.
After receiving the placement offer, I was added to a facebook group of interns who will work at the same location as me which encouraged house shares and opportunities to meet up. There were many socials throughout the year which I attended and had lots of fun. Some where on site and some where in the local town centre. The placement group where all kind and supportive people who were always down to have a fun outing.
The cost of living in Cheltenham is £350 - £450 per month for rent and £50 bills on top of that. I had a very generously sized room with a living room and dining area and shared with one other person who was also an intern at GE Aviation. Socialising in the area was also very reasonably priced with cinemas, pubs, bars, restaurants, arcades, parks and mini golf in the area. It was considerably cheaper than London.
There are many pubs, bars and restaurants in the area which got very busy over the weekends. Overall a very good town centre with lots to do and lots to see. Some places do close very early.
Many of the activities arranged amongst our team were to go out into town for bowling, drinks, eating out etc. but when the coronavirus pandemic started these were cut short and we socialised over skype instead.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Computer and Systems Engineering
21st August 2020