Responsible for operating the daily running of the 3D printer at BMW Plant Oxford. This includes designing prototypes in CATIA V5 CAD software, using CAD clean up software for prototypes, computing on rapid prototyping software and use of SCA (Support Cleaning Apparatus).
Providing design solutions through problem solving and root cause analysis of parts and
vehicles, including CAD design of jigs and prototype parts
Analysis into parts and issues, whilst also being knowledgeable of industry legislation when
designing and/or revising current production parts. This often, if not always, involves liasing with various departments within the BMW Group and suppliers.
It is important to have a good relationship with the people who you work with - most of your day is spent with these people and by integrating well in to your team, your colleagues will help you learn.
I felt very valued by my colleagues - feedback on work I had done, both good and bad, were given but the important thing was that all feedback was constructive. Tasks weren't always done correctly the first time round, but this was part of the learning process and at every stage, they were willing to take the time out to help and teach me the system and take me through concepts.
Management and supervisors always took at least some time to briefly explain the tasks. If I needed more assistance, I knew that I could easily approach the project engineers and they would very happily take the time to assist me.
All jobs vary - I was lucky to have my placement year when cars were being launched and the launch team were over. This made it possible to learn a lot more. You are never busy at the beginning as colleagues are trying to suss out your capabilities, but you are also trying to understand the system. As time goes on, you learn the system and your colleagues learn about your capabilities. I definitely got busier as time went on, but I thoroughly enjoyed being busy! I loved what I worked on and that was very important.
The integration into a new team is not only difficult for the placement student, but it is very difficult for the team too. They have to find out what you can do and what you need to learn. They train you, and this training ultimately takes time which they could use to do work. My team was very committed and helpful when it came to me learning. As I learned more, the engineers gave me more responsibility. This included running the 3D printer on a daily basis, creating jigs for production and even data analysis of how the team was performing. I was able to communicate and work with different people in different plants, and this proved priceless for me.
Being back at university is something very different. I definitely miss my team!
But ultimately, the ability to focus for longer periods of time, use logic to identify if my answers are ball park correct or need to be re-evaluated, and my time management is so much better!
I couldn't have asked for a better team (both department, across the site and at all the other sites!). The experience and knowledge I gained was far more than I would have thought possible.
Team morale was great! Colleagues were often joking. Things do get stressful in all work environments, but there was always someone to keep everyone up beat and that kept us all going. You spend so much time with your colleagues that if you all get along and have a good relationship, you will enjoy your time where you are. And everywhere in BMW was like that.
It's important to recognize that different universities have different forms of grading the placement year, and it varies even more for different courses. That said, the department never stopped trying to help me get the most out of my placement and were beyond helpful finding me a final year dissertation project that I am loving. They put in so much effort, and that means a lot when they have their own work that they have to get on with.
I had so many mentors, in a sense that every project engineer inside and outside my department would pull out notes from old training and their own personal notes and share them with me in order to advance my learning. The company invested in teaching me to run the 3D printer, teaching me to use the CAD software and other CAE to produce effective jigs and prototypes for production, and the general training to use the BMW Group networks. I gained a thorough understanding of how production works and I never thought I would enjoy it. But now, with all the effort, time and confidence that the team invested in me, I can't imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else.
Placement is what you make of it. You work with many different people from all over the company, so you can meet many different professionals. Everyone is willing to assist furthering your career and provide advice on what they think will further your career.
After placement, I am working on my final year dissertation project with BMW and have a lot of contact with Munich too. I am also working there on a part time basis, so prospects of working in an area I thoroughly enjoy are great.
Yes! There are many students, not only from the UK but also from Germany. There was a whatsapp group where socials and events were organised and everyone was involved. From there, you could always meet new people and you also had the interaction with people in a similar age group.
I study in Oxford, so I stayed at university because I was still part time. But from what I have heard, students managed to live together and it seemed to work rather well for most, if not all. That said, Oxford is generally an expensive place to live.
The plant is located rather centrally, so you have a good variety of options for going out between Cowley, Headington and the Oxford city centre.
The BMW group organised events where people went out karting, events where tickets were offered at cheaper rates, there was a football team that the students organised too! There was a lot organised, you just had to choose what you liked!