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April 2017 - Diary of a 40-year-old placement student

I may very well have lost my marbles!

The reason I say this is that, as someone who is not exactly at the peak of physical fitness, I have agreed to take part in something which, for anyone who knows me, will probably come as a bit of surprise…I’m going to climb Ben Nevis!

Now just to clarify: when I say climb, I actually mean hike (we’re not talking ropes and hard hats), but none the less it’s an eight to nine hour hike, reaching 4,411ft above sea level!

Charity climb

The bigger picture is that I am joining a group of MOOG colleagues on the last leg of their ‘three peaks in three years’ fundraising event, with the previous two years’ climbs being up Scafell Pike and Snowdon. Having so far raised around £1,250 for various charities, all funds this year will be going to Promise Dreams, a local charity that supports families with seriously and terminally ill children. When the going gets tough, this will certainly be the motivation I’ll need to haul my middle aged spread up the last few hundred metres. Anyway, I’ll let you all know how we got on in next month’s blog.

Regarding my actual placement, as the main test I am working on is approaching a key milestone, my current focus is on ensuring that all of the strict test criteria for this stage has been met, as well as coordinating with a colleague in Utah, USA, who will be coming over to oversee the end of this test stage. Alongside this, I have been finishing off the last bits of work which my now retired colleague had been carrying out, while also preparing for a new set of tests, which should be starting next month. This last activity is proving to be a great learning experience, as this will be the first set of major tests I will have been involved with right from initial setup.

Preparing for assessment

The members of my STEM group have now submitted their final project report to EDT and are preparing for their assessment day next month. Here they’ll not only have to give a presentation to a panel of judges, but will also be involved in a Q&A session, where they will demonstrate their product. To assist with their preparation, the pupils have received support with presentation skills as well as having a couple of practice presentations in front of MOOG staff.

Looking back to the project launch in October, it is great to see how much the pupils have developed and how this process has helped raise their awareness of possible careers in engineering. Next month I will make sure I let you all know how their presentation went.

Sharing my experiences at Moog

The final new activity I took part in this month was helping out on the two-day assessment event for the next intake of placement students, which took place across two MOOG sites. On the first day, I was on hand to give applicants a tour of the Wolverhampton facility and talk about my experiences on placement, while the second day I went to our Tewkesbury facility to talk about the roles on offer at Wolverhampton and answer any questions they had from a student’s perspective. Not only was this a great experience in terms of being able to play a small part in the recruitment of the next student intake, but also for getting out and seeing other MOOG sites and talking to the other students on placement at Tewkesbury.

I hope that those of you looking for placements are having some success and that the pressure of exams and assignments aren’t proving too distracting. If it helps ease any stress over striving for top marks; when being interviewed for placements, while academic performance is important, it is not the only deciding factor. Managers are also interested in how professionally you present yourself, how well you would fit into their company and how committed you are to developing your potential future career.

Follow my 'adventure'

While I spend the next few weeks trying to prepare myself (physically and mentally) for Ben Nevis, why not find out more about Promise Dreams. I will be live-tweeting from Ben Nevis on the day – Sat 20th May – so please feel free to follow me and the #MoogTrekkers hashtag on Twitter for progress updates and photos – and to provide some moral support!