Developing ideas for toxicant management in combustible cigarettes to support the science and feasibility team
For me, my placement year at BAT started tough. I was in a new place, doing completely new things with people I did not know. It took me a long time to get settled into the work environment and start to actually enjoy myself. I started off quite stressed out about what people were thinking of me and worrying whether I was doing enough. The key here is if your direct line manager is happy, then it does not matter what other people think of you too much as they do not see you all the time and do not know exactly what you are doing.
RateMyPlacement is currently advertising 6 roles at BATView jobs now →
I have answered low on this one because in the team I am in, we all have our own projects and work individually on things. This means I am not asked for help very often. This does not mean that I am not valued as a member of the team though and people are very welcoming. However, as a student, I have been left out of team emails before and some people have forgotten to add me to invite lists for meetings because I am not regarded as a permanent member of staff.
My manager in particular did not like to mirco-manage and preferred at the start of the placement to throw me in the deep end with lots of work and see if I swam or not. It was hard and I felt quite adandoned at times but I can see now that it was a test. I swam, and I passed and it's massively helped me grow in confidence. I manage my own time and my own tasks and I turn to my manager if I ever get stuck, but I usually try to sort it myself. My manager helps me with all of my writing though and reviews all of my reports and study plans throroughly.
Since my managers style was quite laid back and let me make my own work, I was never super busy. A lot of my work on placement has been work that I have created. I am not in a supportive role and so I only work on my project so I only do what I decide needs doing.
After being given the basic remit for my project (I was presented with a problem to explain) I was left to decide how to work on it. I was responsible for keeping stake-holders informed and using the budget wisely. I planned out the project work and experiments and had the responsibilty of working to deadlines I set myself and promised the business I would keep to.
This placement year has not been about developing my skills in Chemistry but instead learning about myself. The last year has been a steep learning curve for me and I have learnt so much about interacting with people (both authoritative and my peers), setting personal goals and deadlines, discovering what kind of person I am and want to be in the work place, and finally deciding what I want to do in the future. BAT has been a fantastic place to work for that because you are given the opportunity to work with so many people from so many backgrounds and at so many levels. We're encouraged to present at several opportunities throughout the year to a wide range of audiences, from our team members to the senior leadership team and principle scientists.
Unfortunately I was based in a rather small office with few other people so it was fairly quiet. There were the occasional chats and people did bring in cakes now and again when it was someone’s birthday, but it was mostly silent.
The organisation and set up for the placement at BAT is fantastic. There is so much guidance and support and there are events and activities planned for the students throughout the year to help with our development.
The only issue I have had is the timing of the placement as I have exams in August and I've had to take time off for them. The placement starts in September and finishes end of August.
BAT have sent us students on more training courses and workshops than they would do their permanent employees. I have attended statistics courses, poster workshops, writing skills sessions and presentation workshops. I was also encouraged to present at several opportunities throughout my placement to improve my presentation skills; from presenting at small team meetings to presenting to the senior leadership team and the principle scientists.
This low rating is because I have decided that this is not what I want to do in the future. Nothing against BAT as a career choice, it is just not the working environment for me.
At the start of the year the placement students were quite separated and took a while to start socialising outside of work because we were focussing on getting settled first. Full days each of the week followed by usually busy weekends going home, going back to uni and so on, meant the weekday nights were spent alone. However, when the days started getting longer and there was more light in the evenings, we went for drinks, out for dinner, to festivals and to the cinema together and it really did improve.
There’s also a lot of young people at BAT which means it’s quite a social place to be and lot of people do go out for drinks every Friday.
My team had three socials throughout the year; laser quest and dinner, lunch out, and finally go-karting followed by sprinkles (the last one was because a member of our team was retiring and that’s what he wanted to do... so don't worry about the age diversity of the teams!)
So after coming from Bath, I would say rent was fairly cheap around the £300pppm mark for your standard student accommodation. Socialising I would also say was quite cheap in comparison to Bath but not as cheap as it would be if you headed up North.
I lived in Bedford Place this year which was a 30minute walk from work. Bedford place is the home of many of Southampton’s bars and clubs and covers most peoples taste for nightlife.
As a city Southampton offers a lot of extra activities from Colour runs to premiere league football games to shopping. Southampton is also sandwiched between the New Forest and the Isle of Wight; two fantastic places for day trips out! BAT also encourage their employees to partake in activities outside of work by selling subsidised tickets to various sporting and social events.