Static technical resource with opportunities to join a variety of projects, based on personal strengths
I enjoyed my placement very much, as the work I was assigned was challenging, but not to the point of frustration. I wasn't expecting to be thrown quite so far into the deep end, but the experience has left me feeling like I have improved over the 12 month placement.
Work relations have stayed at an amiable colleague level, as the only social activity we participated in as a project was a christmas dinner. However, I have developed some good relations with other members of the company, as well as some of the apprentices that joined when I did.
There were only two occasions when I needed support that wasn't there, and neither of those occasions were on serious matters, which meant I had enough head space to work around the answer myself without the direct support of my supervisor, as he was on holiday.
Work varied between small time bug fixes at a relaxed pace, to imminent deadlines and major workloads that needed heavy concentration. However, I still feel like the work balance was positive, as the deadlines weren't so steep as to cause major stress, nor were the relaxed periods times of no work at all.
Towards the start of the placement, my work was fairly spoon fed, as the project I was on didn't have a scope of my ability. But as time went on, I was given more and more free space to work on tasks in my way, and given the power to choose if certain issues were solved, or postponed. Towards the end of the placement, I haven't felt like I was treated as an intern, but as an equal colleague.
The skills I've learned over the past 12 months have been vastly more helpful than what I've learned at University. University courses are good for laying the groundwork, but to see how much of that groundwork transfers into the real world is staggering, as so much more of it is more streamlined than we have been taught beforehand.
There was almost always a light-hearted, friendly atmosphere in the office. In times of big deadlines, and heavy workloads, the atmosphere was a bit more serious and tense, but there was never any negativity in it.
Overall, the placement was set up very well. The start and end dates do not clash with returning to University, and I don't miss the lack of a Summer Holiday. Upon arriving, all the resources for new starters was ready to go, and I was setting up my station within the first day of arrival, so we jumped straight into the preparation and training. The internship process could have been a little smoother regarding some confusion about certain processes that are the same/different as the graduate scheme, but overall there was no derailment of the introductory process.
As a temporary employee, it's fully understandable that the company may not have been willing to offer all the paid training available, however the amount of internal training available was very extensive. In addition to this, I was offered some external training courses which have all proved helpful in my project, and I feel as though I wasn't excluded from training opportunities because of my temporary status.
As far as I'm aware, my performance reviews have all come back positive, so I remain optimistic about getting a job after my final year at University. Failing that, I will still almost certainly be reapplying for it within a few years of finishing University, as this has been an excellent place to work.
There were a few training sessions for the interns, and we all went out for social events afterwards, usually in London. In addition to this, I've done a lot of social activities with some of the apprentices who joined at the same time as me, and a few events with the project group I'm with (for example the christmas dinner).
The living costs around the office are more than reasonable, with cheap accommodation, good access to supermarkets and petrol stations, and public transport into the nearby city. However, as far as the socialising aspect goes, there is very little to do in the immediate proximity of the house I was staying in. It's a short bus trip away from a thriving social centre in the city, but I never got around to going there.
Similar to the previous question, all the nightlife was happening in the nearby city. So there is an active nightlife scene, but not in the town where my office was located.
There were a lot of activities advertised on the break room billboards, as well as flyers on the tables and other media advertising social events like picnics.