• The Role
  • The Company
  • The Culture

    The Role

  • 1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
  • I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year at NATS. My placement was an initial 12 month contract that was granted a 1 month extension. I worked as a project manager, rotating half way through the placement onto a different programme. I was given autonomy and responsibility from early stages and the opportunity to take the lead on project activities. There was an excellent level of guidance, interest and support from the early careers scheme and in general from employees throughout the company.


  • 2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
  • I was always given constructive feedback and appraisal throughout the placement. I was given postions of responsiblity to make me feel like part of the working team, rather than just the placement student helping out. Colleagues from my project delivery team through to the heads of department and even the CEO took a genuine interest in the progression of the students that make up the early careers scheme. The teams I worked with engaged with me profesionally and I was not treated any different because of my position.


  • 3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
  • There is a great structure for this at NATS. I had good line managers who you formally record progress and go to for support and guidance. You are also allocated a "buddy" from your working area, typically a senior graduate who can relate to your issues, they provide a more informal means of support. For me personally this person was an excellent point of contact and someone who could critique your work from another perspective. The support and guidance from general senior management was also excellent as well, a genuine interest.


  • 4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
  • This was dependant on the agenda of the day. Some days were back to back meetings and a lot of prep work in advance of these. Other days were quiter and gave you the chance to get on with work, however this is to be expected with the nature of the role. I never felt I had nothing to do, I was provided with work to chip away at when I wasn't in meetings or dealing with issues related to the projects.


  • 5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
  • After 2 months I was given the reponsibility to lead the team meetings for a project and deal with the stakeholders involved including an external contractor. In my second placement I was given the responsibility to manage and plan a project phase in preperation for a business case submission. I always had support if I needed it and there was no issue in providing me the opportunities to take on responsibility. During the first two months in a new role I was brought up to speed effectively and still given meaningful tasks to complete.


  • 6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
  • I study Mechanical Engineering, with a unit that covers business/project management. So there were parallels in my degree and this placement, obviusly the placement did not cover aspects from my degree such as CAD etc. Having said this my management provided me with the opportunities to apply the other skills from my course, hence being placed on facilities management based projects dealing with power and HVAC solutions where I had some background knowledge and understandng. What I took from this placement is great teamwork, leadership and presentation skills that i have already applied in my final year. I recieved good feedback from my university for my placement coursework and they stated the skills developed in my placement year would be a great asset to my future career, either within engineering or project management.


    The Company

  • 7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
  • The working atmosphere was very positive and I formed a good relationship with the people I worked with during my placement. My close colleagues were very friendly and had a good sense of humour. There was usually a general buzz around the office which meant it didn't feel dull at work. Some areas due to the nature of them are much quieter and you can't expect these to be lively if you spend the majority of your time within them, however staff working here take regular breaks and the breakout areas are always very social and well looked after.


  • 8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
  • The overall structure of the placement was good. Having two placements within the overall year provided variety and points in time to reflect and present progress to your management. As mentioned prior the support network for me was very good that was in place as part of the early careers scheme. The only issue I had was right at the start in trying to get IT access, however I would imagine now that the majoirty of the workforce has the capability to work from home this would no longer be an issue.


  • 9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
  • The company has access to a large variety of online courses. I completed agile project management and CDM 2015. Although these are more for just learning and you do not recieve a qualfication of any kind. Before the impacts of the pandemic, I was being prepared to complete an APM fundamentals exam which would give me a formal qualification. I know that other placement students completed courses in lean six sigma, although these can be difficult to access due to availability, and I'm sure there are other courses available.


  • 10. What were the perks on your work placement?
  • Flexi Time

    Subsidised Canteen

    Sports and Social Club

    Subsidised/Company Gym

    National Travel

    International Travel

    Financial Bonus

    Company Parties/Events

    Above 25 days holiday

    Working from home



  • 11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
  • I had a great overall experience and would love to return to NATS to continue my progression within the DEG (Graduate) Scheme. The job itself alongside the company culture, flexible working and perks make it an attractive employer. A lot of the senior management themselves came through this scheme and so there is a clear progression pathway which is encouraging to see, and again makes NATS an attractive employer from a career progression point of view.


    The Culture

  • 12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
  • Yes there is an elected rep from the early careers scheme who organises socials etc for all the students, then alongside this students organise things themselves regularly. NATS also has a great sports society which have regular things planned through the week. We organised our own 5 a side football after work on a monday which more senior staff came to take part in which was good. The company is close to Portsmouth/Southampton where there is a good student nightlife anyway so there isn't a shortage of things to do.


  • 13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
  • I commuted to work from home so I could not provide an answer from a personal perspective on this. However I know that a lot of the students lived together in shared houses and used this to make rent more manageable. Again Portsmouth/Southampton nearby are full of students and so there arent any clear reasons why it would be difficut to afford to live in the area. You are payed a good student salary and none of the placement students ever complained about being very short of money.


  • 14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
  • NATS is close to Portsmouth and Southampton which both have good nightlife as they both have big universities. There are a lot of student nights in the bars and clubs to choose from. The immediate area around NATS is fairly quiet, there are a few pubs but Southampton and Portsmouth are both around 20-30 minutes away so there isn't much of an issue with that. The social rep organises nights out for students based on whats going on in these places.


  • 15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
  • There's a range of things to get involved in. NATS organise charity work and university visits which you can volunteer to take part in and you are given time out of work to attend these. As mentioned already the sport society is really good and there's a lot of choice, the 5 a side football is really popular and good fun. NATS usually has a couple of events going on each year also, they attend the the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) which is the world's largest military air show and set up a stand. I also attended a large conference called Directing Our Future which was based on the current projects and where NATS is looking to develop and innovate over the coming years. This involved a some key speakers and some fun activities.


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Placement Year (10 Months+)

Business Management

South East

November 2020

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