To assist in the management of BAT-Science.com and the publication of R&D's external communications.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my work placement with British American Tobacco. I have had the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of activities and roles within the company, with the help of a supportive manager and a wonderful team. I've felt like a real part of the company since the start, and have never been treated as 'the student'.
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I have consistently felt like my colleagues value the work that I have done. The student projects actually contribute to larger work streams of the team/department and the business as a whole, therefore I have been able to see and appreciate the wider impact that my projects have had.
The support from my manager (and the team as a whole) has been wonderful. Not only have I been supported in my day-to-day projects and work, but I have also been given support and training in order to help with my wider career aspirations. For example, I was given the opportunity to train externally in copy writing.
Work has naturally ebbed and flowed during my placement. Some weeks I would be spinning a lot of plates, and others I would have the time to completely focus on a couple of key projects. However, I was never left with nothing to do, and my manager has always kept an eye on my workload to make sure I don't become overwhelmed.
I have always been responsible for my own work flow and project management. It is amazing to see how my work influences and feeds into the work of my department, and the business as a whole; you get a real sense of accomplishment. That being said, my manager has always held regular meetings and kept up a constant dialogue regarding my projects, helping to guide and shape my work when necessary. I have always been exceptionally well supported, while maintaining my independence.
The only reason that I have given this 7/10 rather than 10/10 is because the skills I have developed in my placement year will not be of much assistance in the rest of my degree as I have been working as a web and publications undergraduate (with a degree in Neuroscience). However, the training and experiences I have had while I have been here have made me far more employable than I otherwise would have been, and has also given me a solid idea of the career I want after my graduation. With regards to my career, the wide range of activities and training I have been involved in will be invaluable.
My office makes up one of three larger open plan offices in this building, and I can often be on my own for a couple of hours or a day (which can be a blessing if there is a lot to do). That being said, colleagues are always stopping to say hello and have a quick catch-up when they walk past, and the overall atmosphere of the site is extremely friendly and relaxed.
The placement team at BAT are always consistently on hand to make your work placement as stress free as possible, they really can't do enough for you. At the start of placement all the students are encouraged to spend time together and take part in company inductions, which is a great way to get to know the business and see how your project will fit in to the bigger picture.
The company are excellent at training students professionally and personally. As a couple of examples, I have been involved in workshops for CV writing, scientific report writing, presentation skills, scientific posters, scientific engagement and copy writing. The majority of these are held on site, but some have been provided externally in London.
This depends entirely on what you want to do. I will start off by mentioning there are a lot of people working here that were previous students, and they obviously made better candidates when applying for their roles. However, there is no 'official' job at the end of this placement if you do well, you just have to wait for one to come up naturally. Also, BAT do have a graduate scheme, for which you would also be a stronger candidate.
While you're here there are plenty of opportunities to meet colleagues and have fun outside the office. The gym runs classes three times a day, morning, lunch and after work - you can meet some new people there and have a lot of fun. Sports and social are always selling subsidised tickets to sporting and theatre events, and Southampton itself has enough restaurants, bars and clubs to satisfy most.
Southampton is typical of the south in that it is comparatively expensive to rent. My rent is £650pcm, however I did choose to live with my partner instead of the other students and therefore my rent is a couple of hundred pounds higher. Socialising costs are a little higher than they would be in the north, but the wage you are paid is enough to give you a happy work/life balance.
Southampton is a student town with enough bars, restaurants and clubs to satisfy most tastes. Having been accustomed to nights out in Manchester and Leeds, I admit that I have been spoiled, but Southampton is not comparable.
There have been plenty of opportunities to get involved with activities outside of work. There is the (in)famous Christmas party for a start, whose highlights this year included dodgems, a free bar, and fire breathers. As I've previously mentioned, sports and social are always selling subsidised tickets to the West End, Mayflower (Southampton's theatre), and sporting events.