The main reason I applied for a placement was to have a practical engineering experience by applying the theory that I learnt at university on a real-life engineering projects and solving engineering problems. Also, I wanted to examine where I stand in terms of my strengths and weakness and what areas I need to work on to be a successful engineer.
Another reason of taking a placement year was to have a clear vision of what aerospace engineering offers upon successful completion of my degree and to have a definite mindset of what I am planning to specialise in within this field.
The process was lengthy but was made easier by the strong support from the Placements Team. I started thinking about the placement year as soon as my first year ended and attended a CV workshop in June to get started. My CV and cover letter was completed and checked by the Placements Team beforehand. I was ready to apply as soon as the jobs were listed on the job board. Every job had different criteria; some were straight forward where only the CV and cover letter were required and for others long assessment questions were answered. All the documents were checked by the Placements Team and mock interviews were held by them to help me prepare for my interviews.
My work mainly comprises of:
My typical day is spent working on any document returned for revision, working on any new project given by my line manager, replying to emails and making sure to complete the task given to me on time.
I have been involved with two projects recently;
Calculations, testing, report making, reading and analysing engineering drawings and using engineering programmes are the key elements of my job which were learned from my course.
I think structural calculations and reading and analysing engineering drawings would be very beneficial for my course.
Coding in Visual Basic would help me learn how to structure algorithms which would be a good skill for the final year.
Testing procedures, carrying out testing and producing a report for the results and conclusion is pretty much what we do at university, and having the opportunity of doing them for real life projects would strengthen my report writing and testing skills.
It has improved my engineering problem-solving skills. Now I can do better analysis on engineering problems and come up with a solution. My report writing skills has also improved. I can read and understand engineering drawings better now.
Engineering is all about calculations and my role involves a lot of calculations which is very useful. The placement year has given me dissertation ideas and has helped me decide the topic for my final-year project.
You get a professional life experience, you learn the etiquettes of working life and you enjoy the professional life comfort. It's a good year off from university deadlines, coursework and exams and the best opportunity to explore yourself academically and professionally and think of your future with a broader prospective. It boosts your confidence level. You also make good professional contacts which are very important and if you perform well whilst on your placement and make the most out of it; you have a good chance to secure a place in the company too.
I enjoyed working in research and development and would like to do something similar to it.
I would highly recommend a placement year for students who want to finish their degree with a practical experience and a much broader career prospective. Placement year is a golden opportunity to prepare yourself for the real world.