Tasks varied daily, all related to improving Weld quality, reducing costs or saving time through design and manufacturing of parts, researching products, meeting suppliers and implementing new equipment.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
On the whole, I was dissatisfied with my placement. I found day-to-day I was working on quite menial tasks and despite the size of some of the projects I worked on, I felt that overall my part within them was insignificant and my own projects were those which had been left by others previous, this was most apparent when the work I had done was not to be continued after I left.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Without meaning to contradict myself, I found that the menial tasks were those which made me feel most valued. These were often tasks that I had sought out myself to try and fill in the gaps, by doing these I found that I got to know everyone in the office and around the department much better and the help was appreciated by everyone. Needless to say everyone was very welcoming when I first arrived and I am still in touch with a few of the engineers 6 months on.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I found my supervisor was often never around and when he was available he would often tell me to leave the work and try and give me something new rather than provide the guidance and support I needed to progress. This meant I often had to turn to the other engineers in the office and other parts of the department to get the guidance I needed.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Despite working on a few projects simultaneously, there was often a lot of time that needed to be filled while waiting for people to respond or deliver test materials etc. Unfortunately I wasn't provided with a large enough amount of work to fill these gaps and despite my best efforts to help people, I still found I had a lot of time with nothing to do.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given a decent amount of responsibility but there was no ramping up. I found within 2 weeks I had my own projects and deadlines but not the experience or knowledge to complete them and by the end of the placement the level of responsibility had dropped off when I would have preferred it to have been increasing.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I feel that the skills I developed across my placement will be of greater use when I complete my degree than they are at this present moment, however I don't feel I was given enough opportunity to try and develop or the support needed to get the most from my placement.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The overall atmosphere within the office was great. The engineers would often exchange banter and have a laugh while working making it a great environment to work in and a huge laugh.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I was given a list of projects and a calendar of how they hoped the year would play out. This didn't happen and the whole thing was scrapped quite soon after, but in terms of when I arrived it all seemed to be very well organised.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Not a great deal. The training available is all pre planned and quite limited while attempts to go on other training is normally turned down due to you being a placement student. The most development I found was the experience gained from working for a year in a manufacturing environment.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I would not return to Toyota, it was a worth while experience and I don't regret my decision to do a placement. The overall quality of my placement and the fact that the work I was involved in didn't engage me means I have no intention of returning.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The overall social scene was good but there were a number of graduates and placement students and we did something weekly. This was all off our own backs however and other than providing the contact details of the students/graduates Toyota provided no assistance at all.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Derby is a relatively cheap area with beer and housing being cheap in comparison to the south coast, although sharing accommodation definitely makes it a great deal cheaper as single bed flats are still quite pricey.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Derby nightlife is ok, the surrounding villages have some fantastic pubs which I personally found much more enjoyable. The city itself is fairly bland, nothing particularly stands out and the clubs are your run of mill clubs such as Mosh and Revolution.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Within my department there was nothing apart from the Christmas meal and my leaving do. No one really socialised outside of work or did anything together at weekends. I heard that other departments had a lot more going on but from my experience there really wasn't anything.