The 12-month placement was mostly an enjoyable experience. It gave me an insight into how the aviation industry operates and triggered an interest in aviation. During the placement I was given a variety of different tasks and worked with several teams. Although it was not a main part of the placement, I was also given the opportunity to see different parts of the business that I was not involved with, which added to the variety and meant I could see how each stage of product development operates. Workload varied throughout the placement, so at times there wasn't much to do and to take some time to be given tasks despite asking for more work several times.
I always felt valued by my colleagues throughout the placement, despite not being given work to do at times. Some teams that I worked with clearly valued my opinion and that of other interns. All work that I completed was reviewed and feedback given (where needed). Whenever I asked questions, colleagues were willing to help out and aid in my development during the placement. At times, It was a struggle to receive feedback from colleagues. Whenever this happened, it became irritating and reduced the extent to which interns felt valued. Whichever task I was completing, I felt like a valued member of the team.
The availability of support and guidance varied depending on which team I was working with at the time. The majority of the time I was able to get feedback on simple questions by supervisors and other colleagues almost instantly and larger tasks in a sensible amount of time. Other times it required more effort to receive feedback and guidance. Although if I expressed a major concern about how I had been doing something, guidance was always given to help solve the problem.
The amount of work that I was given changed considerably and unpredictably throughout the placement. Some times I was given many large tasks which filled my time for several days, other times I was left without much work and only sending the odd email when something came in. During quiet times, some teams were able to provide additional tasks straight away, whereas others were more of a challenge to be given work to do. After the Coronavirus pandemic hit, the workload dropped considerably and it became much harder to ask for work. The on-site experience was much better than when working remotely.
For each task I was given a good amount of responsibility. Some tasks I was given required me to work independently and follow GE's processes by myself. Other tasks required working in a team and sometimes meant interns were given a task to work on, then pass the work onto other colleagues once it was complete. There were also some tasks where I was given a task and trusted to make the right decisions and report on the findings. For all these tasks (and everything else at GE), there was some form of quality control, so there was no concern that I may make a mistake which would cause serious problems.
During the placement I developed all kinds of 'soft skills', and many technical skills. Previously I had not had any experience in aviation, so I gained a large amount of knowledge about the industry and the types of products that I was working on. Some knowledge I developed was learned in first and second year modules. There were also some things that I learned and will help in further years. If I choose to work in the aviation industry (or something similar) in the future, I feel that the technical knowledge I have gained, in addition to other processes, regulations, and operations will help me to get a job in the future.
There was a good atmosphere in the office. Almost everyone was friendly and helpful. Most people were available instantly to help with quick questions, whereas some asked to wait a few minutes while they completed a task. Many colleagues were also willing to take a few minutes out of their day just to chat, which provided a break from working. Some buildings and departments had more areas to take a break and socialise than others, but it was always possible to move between buildings if one had better facilities.
There was a clear structure to the work placement, with all required training given at the start of the placement. Once myself and other interns were put into teams, the structure varied depending on departments and products. Power Engineering interns were given an 'intern project', where we were given a task to complete that other colleagues may not have the time to complete. This gave a bit more structure to the placement. There were also clear structures and processes for everything else at GE, so it was always possible to work out hoe to do things.
Apart from the initial training during the first few weeks of the placement, everything else was on-the-job training and was given when it was needed. This training was always of good quality and provided a good way to get some hands-on experience. In addition to this, there was also some online training for things like intellectial property rules and health & safety. There were no opportunities for additional training if it was not requires to complete a specific set of jobs at GE.
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Above 25 days holiday
GE did not offer any jobs to interns after graduation, but encouraged everyone to apply for a graduate job through the normal recruitment process. Some interns, including myself, were offered the opportunity to return for a summer placement in the following summer break. Throughout the placement, I met many people who had a placement at GE and then got a job after graduating, so it seems that management looks favorably upon applicants who have already had some time working for the company.
There were some social events organised by other interns, but all of these involved drinking. This meant people who avoid these king of socials, including myself and probably others, were excluded from social activities. There were no activities organides by the company itself. However, ther were many activities available in Cheltenham, the nearest large town. There was some socialising between interns while working, but this was mainly between people who had met at the pre-organised socials.
There were some social events organised by other interns, but all of these involved drinking. This meant people who avoid these kind of socials, including myself and probably others, were excluded from social activities. There were no activities organised by the company itself. However, there were many activities available in Cheltenham, the nearest large town. There was some socialising between interns while working, but this was mainly between people who had met at the pre-organised socials.
There was plenty of nightlife in Cheltenham and Gloucester, the two neatest large towns. Both of these towns also have universities, so you can expect the nightlife that you would get in any student town or city. Social avents were sometimes organised by other interns. If you're more into socialising in other ways, there were also other activities available in the area, both with and without large groups. There was no nightlife at all in the town/village where the offices were located.
There were many opportunities to get involved in opportunities outside of work. If you wanted to get involved with something other people at GE have organised, there was no central place to find out about these, but they could be found by asking around. I got involved in a walking group organised by someone in another department. Outside of the company, there are all sorts of groups that you can get involved in. The best way to find out about these is searching online or asking around.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Aerospace/Aviation, Electronic and Electrical Engineering
18th September 2020