1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I enjoyed most parts of the internship. The internship provided the opportunity to work on a variety of tasks and projects. I was able to get involved in tasks ranging from investigating an incident to doing experiments as well as some more theoretical work involving fluid mechanics. This variety made the placement much more interesting and beneficial for me. The variety of tasks also involved some more mundane and repetitive tasks which were necessary and important for the department but less interesting for myself.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Yes but this only really showed towards the end of the internship. One of the main problems with the placement was that the other people in the department were often very busy and as a result there were periods when there was a lack of feedback and communication. This often gave the impression of a lack of interest from colleagues. However this wasn't true and in reality the work carried out was greatly appreciated and the people working around me usually made an effort even when busy to give a comprehensive answer to my questions.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
There was less support than expected. This was one of the major challenges of the internship. Two of my supervisors were not based in the same office as me. All of my supervisors were often very busy because of the nature of the department's work ( the fact that it was a holiday period didn't help either). This meant that often work had to be carried out very much independently. There was also often a bit of a disconnect between myself and my supervisors as to what I was doing. However when struggling with a task I could always get support from either one of my supervisors or other colleagues.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was generally very busy. The department I was in was very reactive to incidents all round Europe, as a result tasks came in quite unexpectedly. This meant there were times when I was very busy working on tasks for various people and other times where I had much less to do. I did the less important routine work during the any lulls.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Quite a lot. As mentioned, my supervisors tended to be very busy so I was mostly left to deal with getting the work done myself. I was given a lot of independence in dealing and communicating with external suppliers and with other departments within the company. For safety purposes on some experiments though I had to be supervised continuously.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
All the communication and investigative work which some tasks involved were very useful in developing my confidence and communication skills. I was also able to gain a greater understanding notably through hands on experiences of various pieces of equipment such as valves and regulators. In terms of academics, I further improved my knowledge and understanding of fluid mechanics with some of the simulation work I carried out.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The working atmosphere was always good. At first I was sitting next to a number of recent graduates which was a good atmosphere to work in as they would share there experiences of working with me. Later in the placement the office became much quieter but the environment was still comfortable.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
A bit mixed, the organisation was very good to start off with . HR makes sure you are informed of which department you will be placed in as well as your supervisors in advance. During the actual internship, because the departments work was very reactive and work came up unexpectedly it was necessary to often change my plans and I often didn't know what I would be working on over the next few days. The variety of work and situations was stimulating.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There was a lot of investment from the company. For example, I was sent to Stoke for a week (all travel and food expenses paid for by the company) in order to get more familiar with the equipment the department was involved with. I was given one on one training during this week.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
My impression is that they are very good. The company offers a very good graduate program which leads to chartership. The 5 year graduate program provides the opportunity to rotate round different departments within the company including commercial placements. This gives the opportunity to try a variety of roles and all the graduates I spoke to who were currently on it or had completed it were very pleased with it.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes there is a recent graduate council which regularly organises social events such as camping trips or outings to pubs,....
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived in Hersham very close to the actual office. It is quite an expensive area with the only shop within 20 min walking distance a Waitrose. Being very close to London the area is quite expensive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Hersham is a very quiet place however it is easy to get into London from the train station.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes, there are several office sports club around as well as the recent graduate council which organises regular activities.