1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Overall I enjoyed my placement with Dstl very much, I got to work on a variety of different meaningful tasks with many different colleagues. Every person I worked with was really helpful and always willing to answer questions. I got to go on two visits outside of the office which were great in supplementing my understanding. They have an organisation for new starters which was great - they organised talks to help improve our understanding of the forces along with providing the opportunity to meet new people.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
The team I was in were very welcoming and always included me in their social events. They were very supportive and tried to give me tasks that would both be interesting and help develop my skills. Everyone seemed to appreciate what I had been helping with which was good to hear.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was allocated a buddy for the duration of my placement who sat at the desk next to me. This was really helpful as I could ask her any questions that I had during the days, and if she didn't know she could direct me to someone who would. She also contacted me before I started which was a great opportunity to ask questions. My line manager also contacted me before hand, and was always willing to answer quesitons during my placement.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Some days were busier than others, but on the majority of days I was given something interesting and beneficial to work on.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
Mostly I helped my colleagues with the tasks they had been working on, but I was given my own research to do in preparation for the analysis for a particular task. I got to present some of the work I'd been doing during a presentation to my group, and also during a team meeting.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
Although my placement did not use any Maths that I've studied during my degree so far, I have found that some of the skills I've developed will be useful for my final year. Developing my Microsoft Excel skills will definitely help with organisation. I also got to do a presentation on my experiences which will be helpful in the future as I haven't had the opportunity to present at university.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
In my area of the office the atmosphere was great, everyone in the team seemed to get on very well, saying good morning to each other and the line manager always made sure everyone's morale was good. People sometimes brought in cake to share. We could make tea and coffee in the office which was a good opportunity to catch up on what work I'd been doing.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Very well, I was given my IT equipment on the first day along with the relevant training during my first week. Most of these were already scheduled in my calendar when I arrived. Some work had been organised for me to get started on, and that continued throughout my placement. I was able to complete the induction activities with my line manager during my first few weeks.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
I got to go on visits to the other Dstl site and one of the RFA ships which was really beneficial to my understanding. Their new starters organisation set up talks from military advisors to help improve the summer students' understanding of how each of the forces worked. There was also opportunity to go to other seminars on a variety of topics to learn more from individuals with specialist knowledge.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I enjoyed my summer placement very much, it opened me to a career that doesn't directly involve my degree subject which I thought I might not enjoy, but now I think I might like it more! Flexi time made it possible for me to work hours that I would be more productive during. The work that I was involved in was interesting and engaging. The graduate scheme looks organised and as good as the summer placement one. I would be really happy to work for Dstl again.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
It was nice to have other summer students who I could sometimes eat lunch with and talk to about what we were working on. There were new starters events such as bowling and pub quizzes, as well as team events. In my team we had a BBQ, a team breakfast every month and some lunches together.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I lived at home during my placement having recently moved to the area. There are lots of different activities to do and my colleagues were helpful in directing me to some of these.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
I haven't experienced the nightlife in the area, but others seem to enjoy it.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were a few - I did the race for life with one of my colleagues, as well as being invited to team socials and lunches.