I really enjoyed my time at Arup. I was excited to go to work and rarely dreaded the thought of it. I found it a very positive environment even as I started working from home. I felt that my placement year gave me a better understanding of the industry and allowed me to put into practice what I learnt in University. I also know that what I have learnt over the course of the past year will be very beneficial to me as I finish my studies at university.
I felt very involved in the team and as well the wider office. The members of my team valued my input while also taking time out to teach me. I never felt like a burden on the team and whenever I needed some help I felt like I could approach a number of people in the team. At times I felt that if I was taking too long at a task or was learning something new someone more senior may complete the task for me, which at times I would have preferred if I had the chance to complete it. There was a number of social events throughout the year which I attended and the invite was open to everyone office wide.
I felt that I was given a lot of support throughout placement. Whenever i was given a piece of work the management in my team took time out to explain it to me. They provided me with resources to enhance my learning on certain projects. They also took time to take me to meetings, site visits and teach me, I found this all very valuable throughout my placement year allowing me to have a very fulfilled placement.
I was very busy the majority of the year and at times I had a lot of work on that I had to manage and prioritise what was important. I also felt that I was included when the senior members of the team were allocating the work to the team. When Covid hit and we started to work from home my work load decreased as in general there wasn't as much work to go around the team.
From the very start of placement, I felt I was given a lot of responsibility on any jobs that I was tasked to do. At the start this was very dauting as it was my first experience in a professional setting. I was tasked with designing and creating drawings to send to the client. Although the projects were overseen by a senior engineer, I was responsible for the deliverables. This was a great to be exposed to on placement as it really demonstrated what work I was going to be involved in throughout my career and what was expected of me.
The skills I have developed during this past year with Arup are skills which will benefit me throughout my future career. A lot of what I had learnt in first and second year in university was a great foundation for starting placement, and it was great to see how the knowledge gained in university is the applied to the industry. While working in a consultancy I learnt a lot that cannot be taught, only learnt through experience from working in a professional environment. Being part of most of the knowledge which I have gained is in this area however working in a multidisciplinary office has allowed me to gain a greater appreciation of all teams. Not only did I increase my knowledge and skills through actively working on projects, but I also attended training courses run by Arup. These involved some lunch time courses as well as online learning opportunities.
It was a very positive environment, there was alot of interaction between the different teams in the office. There was a big focus on integrating the whole office and many different events were planned over lunch that was welcome to all different disciplines. I definitely felt that within the office everyone was keen to work together and there was mutual level of respect between everyone no matter how senior or junior they were. I felt very welcome from the beginning.
Along with myself there were three other placement students starting at the same time and when we first started we were introduced to the placement students who were leaving. This bit of overlapping time was great so we could learn a lot from them. There was also the opportunity to move about different teams throughout placement if we wanted. It would have been nice if there some sort of separate formal training for new placement students starting throughout the year.
Not only did I increase my knowledge and skills through actively working on projects, but I also attended training courses run by Arup. These involved some lunch time courses as well as online learning opportunities. I was encouraged to take part in lunch time training where other engineers were preparing for chartership exams. This give me a great insight as to what kind of career plan i would want in the future and enhanced my knowledge of the process.
When I graduate from university I will definitely be looking at Arup for a graduate job. I feel like it is a great company to work in as they really look after their staff and I feel that the company would support you on your career path. I also like that Arup offers the opportunity to work in other offices which i find very appealing as they are a global firm. Arup definitely invest in your career plan as an individual i feel and would assist you to get where you want to go.
There are several committees in our office such as the social committee who regularly organise events for the whole office. Within the first couple of months of starting placement the committee organised ‘lunch roulette’ where a group of four people from different departments and grades within the office go out for lunch. This was a great way to meet people who otherwise I might not have due to different areas of work. The committee also planned several nights out including our Christmas dinner which I attended. Throughout the course of my placement year I was a member of the Ovagreen committee, which is the environmental committee in the office which organises events throughout the year to try and promote a more environmentally friendly way of living and a greener office.
Having lived in Belfast as a student i felt that it was very affordable and moving into the professional world I do still feel like it was reasonably priced. Obviously slightly more expensive than the student areas but not overpriced at all.
The Arup office was situated in Belfast city center and we were close to a number of bars and restaurants. During the time I was there the office would pick a different bar every month to try and there was definitely an abundance of them. It was great to experience the young professionals night life in the city compared to before hand when I had only seen the student side of the city when i was at University.
They were a number of different committees which organised events outside of working hours such as golf, social committee. I took part in tree planting which was part of the ecology group in the office. I think is more opportunities for them to expand the activities which are available to the office after working hours as some of the events did not occur that often and not on a regular bases and were very seasonal dependent.