Analysed issues with production and refining processes and modified practices accordingly to reduce inefficiencies in operations.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
The location and setting was quite depressing, but the experiences I gained were invaluable. I also formed good relationships with my fellow colleagues and other interns, who I am still in touch with now.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
My manager would always keep in the loop about what he was working on and how his business affairs were doing. He would take me to meetings and ask for my opinion often.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was provided a training matrix and scheduled to undergo lots of different training periods with different departments across the plant. I was also given a process framework for forming and submitting business proposals - e.g. structure of powerpoint presentations
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I had to juggle priorities between going out on plant and recording issues and data, which often included interactions with other departments, and working on my project in my office, building spreadsheets and models to conducting analysis of data.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I had a relative amount of choice over this, so I decided to take on as many projects as I could, to gain as much experience as possible.
My role covered plant and region-wide changes to practices in manufacturing and processing of steel products.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My degree was very relevant to the role, so the skills I learnt about refining steel chemistry and reducing processing errors were very helpful for my exams.
I also learnt a lot about production and manufacturing, and how to optimise these processes using six-sigma and lean principles, which I have mentioned heavily on my CV to other employers.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
My "office" consisted of lots of little rooms, and in our room it was just me and my manager.
We built up a good relationship and got along very well so we always talked a lot, but when he was away on work, I was just on my own in the room, which was quite dull.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
There was a clear training and induction programme, especially for the Health and Safety Aspects of my role. I had individual training and projects with different production departments, which allowed me to understand how the business works together,
My project was clearly defined, with set goals that I was consistently striving towards. My progress was constantly monitored and I was aided accordingly by my direct and indirect managers.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I had 4 health and safety inductions and had to undergo around 9 different training programmes with different departments and sub-departments.
There were also extra training workshops with HR on Brand and Image, Presentation Skills, CV and Cover Letter Writing etc.
I was also given my own computer and desk, and was issued 12 different pieces of Protective Equipment, necessary for my role,
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The graduate training programmes are good and train students well for a future in the manufacturing and commodity-processing industry.
The pay is not as high as others in similar sectors (such as oil companies), but it is easier to be selected at Tata Steel, than say, BP.
Grad Programmes also builds up to CEng status, if that is of interest to anyone.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
There were quite a few placement students and we socialised as much as we could, We went to the local clubs and bars and had house-parties, as some of us were flatsharing together.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Cost of living was very cheap, but the living conditions were quite poor. Cost of socialising was very low as well, and on our ample salary we could easily afford to go out 2-3 times every week.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
There were a good range of bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and the like, but the night-outs were nothing that special. Entry and other costs were cheap, which was good as it allowed us to sample lots of different places.
We were lucky to watch the Football World Cup this year, and we saw the final in a JD Weatherspoons in the area, which was the highlight of the summer.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There wasn't any need to get involved in activities or programmes outside of work, as most of the skills required for me role were taught to me most effectively by on-the-job training, managers, and co-workers.
I attended all the skills workshops organised by HR though, which was a nice change from daily work.