Placement scheme within BAE Systems consists of three sub-placements giving a range of experience within the company. I have been involved in roles in:
Test Engineering: working on aircraft mechanical and hydraulic rigs; building, modifying and operating the rigs to test performance and degredation. Placement involved developing a rig from requirements and performing tests to provide flight clearance for new air system.
Aero-structural Engineering: Forming part of a design team investigating aircraft loading through methods of calculation, modelling and imperical methods. Large levels of modelling and simulation along with data-processing and analysis.
System integration: forming a part of team controlling the development and certification of a safety critical system for integration on a major international defense project. Team forms a part of a supply chain, managing design and suppliers and delivering to system contractors. Work involved reviewing and producing documentation, along with analysis of flight test data and development of techniques for analysis of performance.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Work has been varied and challenging. I have been placed in situations and enormous pressure and stress in which I have thrived on learning opportunities. Work has always been interesting, even if a hard-slog and times. Truely a fantastic company to be involved in.
Also, there cannnot be a more rewarding way to finish a job than watching it take-off.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Placement system means that the people you work directly for are not paying for you. This gives an aspect of disengagement from the team as a "free resource".
However, as a graduate entering jobs that might not normally employ from the fresher employment market, it is possible to bring skills to the workplace that are hugely valued by employers and place a high demand on your abilities. At times I have been pulled in numerous ways by demands from managers to be utilised on a range of tasks.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Similar comments to above on local, team-level, guidance.
HR system of employment means that there is always a central control point for undergraduates to report to or ask questions. Support is readily available and easily approachable.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Apart from the odd-occasion where I have been "seperated" from the team, arising from being en employee of a seperate department, I have been under high levels of workload at all times. My centre line rating applies here as the swings in the workload have been quite dynamic, however this is not a a big issue, as the periods of over-working have been thoroughly enjoyable and a tremendous challenge.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
At times I have been guided quite closely and allowed to develop with assistance and low-risk of causing problems in my work. At others though I have been tasked with acting very autonomously. Roles I have been involved in have been to comission a test-rig by myself, initiate testing and bring suppliers and contractors on the matter to the same table to discuss results and methods. I have been responsible for devloping methods of flight-data analysis that will form a fundemental part in assessing system quality and verifying design performance.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The work I have been involved in at BAE Systems places my degree in a wholly different context. I am more confident that I understand the application of the many areas of theory that form my degree programme and sure of my capabilities to operate in a team or run such a team.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Having worked in four different locales as part of the placement scheme I have worked in a range of office scenarios. It has typically been enjoyable, with work on a test-rig being a very team-based effort, having to work alongside others to ensure test facilities were constanly manned. I was involved in working on a shift rota at this time.
Office work has always a relaxed feel to it, regardless of the pressure everyone can be under at times. Being on a large, high security base can be strange, nto having contact with people from "outsie", but provides a good range of facilities to accomodate for various interests.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Everything ran well. Finding placements internally proves quite easy as you are a "free resource" to each department.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
99% certain to be on the graduate scheme following graduation
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Small undergraduate intake this year meant that keeping contact was difficult.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cost of living good (compared to Manchester). Not particularly much to do in the area however. Living in the Preston area will be a big down-side to a graduate job here.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?