The placement is suitable for either an electrical, electrical & electronic or mechanical engineering student. You will be based within the Electrification & Plant maintenance engineering team in Western West delivery unit as part of the technical support team. The placement will spend time with electrical and mechanical engineers and technicians, but also include the opportunity to spend time gaining an appreciation for project engineering and asset management first-hand. The student will be involved in the management of a range of assets ranging from: High voltage distribution equipment, Protection systems, Low voltage electrical installations, External lighting, Signal power supplies, Uninterruptible power supplies.
Definitely, not only technical skills but also lots of soft skills. For example, I improved my planning and organizing skills (for example, Adapts plans when circumstances change, prioritizes work to meet targets and team needs), teamwork and leadership, communication, problem-solving, commercial awareness( I was clueless before joining), interpersonal skills, safety awareness (safety-critical communication, safety discussions, toolbox talks). I got a greater understanding of casual factors and I also raised my first close call on site.
Yes, not from day one but I believe that the responsibility was increasing gradually as time passed. I created and then managed an action log for the team where I could assign tasks for everyone(including the maintenance engineer, assistant engineer, supervisors, planner, and technicians) and later ask how the task is coming along. I have also been involved in other departments for Network Rail, not only Electrification and Plant Maintenance but also Track and a bit of Signalling.
A lot of support, from everyday discussion with my line manager who was the Assistant Engineer to Microsoft Teams meetings created especially for me to go over what I needed to do and how to achieve it. But everyone in the department was nice and always ready to help with anything. I had the chance to go out on the sites with the technicians as well who were really nice and glad to answer my questions.
The company culture and general atmosphere in the office were pretty relaxed and nice. This was before the first lockdown where we were in the office every day. We were usually having lunch together. During the first lockdown, we decided to stay at home, where things were changed. But we also had weekly meetings on Mondays to create a plan for the whole week. It was a nice general atmosphere overall where you can reach your full potential.
I really enjoyed my placement and I really appreciate that Network Rail kept all the placement opportunities during these challenging times due to Covid. Working in the industry for a year has challenged me and shaped my future career aspirations in which I learned a lot about the railway industry especially the crucial part that the maintenance department plays in the success of the company. I would recommend this placement to everyone who is doing an Engineering degree.
One thing to keep in mind is that you get out what you put in, so really keep that in mind during the recruitment process, but also if you get an offer. I would strongly emphasize practicing STAR questions and behavioral type of questions and looking through NR's core values, but remember, as much you are being interviewed, you should also interview the company and understand if you are a good fit or not.
Placement Year (10 Months+)