Start of main content

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

In doing so, we have so far managed to raise just over £1,000 for the charity, however, with donations still coming in we look set to double that. On behalf of my colleagues, myself and the charity, I would like to thank each and every person who has donated, supported and promoted this event, as we would not have been able to raise such a fantastic amount without your help.

Celebrating EES success

This month also saw EDT’s Engineering Education Scheme (EES) come to a close at a Celebration and Assessment Day, where each team had the chance to present their projects to a panel of judges. Despite their initial nerves, our team presented their project well and stood up admirably to an intense Q&A session from the panel of industry professionals. Not only has this project enabled the pupils to develop their practical skills and knowledge, but it has also given them a valuable insight into possible career pathways once they finish their A levels.

An inclusive industry

Following on from last month’s recruitment for 2017/18 Interns, I have been already helping to recruit interns for 2018/19 by holding a stall at a local university recruitment fair. This was a very positive experience, as not only was the level of interest and general quality of the candidates’ very high, but also the percentage of female engineering students enquiring about placements was impressive. Along with the fact that around 45 per cent of EDT’s EES pupils were female, this indicates an encouraging trend away from engineering being perceived as an almost exclusively male profession.

My own workload this month has been mainly focused around getting ready for a big test milestone, which involves a Moog colleague from the USA coming over to witness key activities and verify our test data on behalf of the end customer. In preparing for this I have learnt a lot about the formal procedures and paperwork involved in verifying our tests to conform with customers’ certification requirements. This is a vital activity, as it ensures full traceability of every unit, component and process involved in the test.

Essential experience

For any student taking their own placement, I would strongly encourage you to seek out exposure to this side of the industry, as this is something which is rarely covered at university, if at all, and is essential experience for anyone who has plans of progressing their career towards management level.

Due to this visit taking me away from my other projects for a couple of weeks, I have also been making sure that alternative provisions are in place so that other tests don’t fall behind schedule. Thankfully, as a mature student, I have had a lot of experience with time management over the last few years, juggling university lectures, assignments and exam revision with family responsibilities, ensuring that sufficient focus is given to each one, without neglecting the other.

Developing yourself into a professional

If there are any students out there who are unsure of the value of taking a placement, it is not just a chance to put all of the lecture theory into practice, it is an excellent opportunity to develop yourself as a professional engineer. As much as expanding your engineering knowledge is important, the ability to manage a workload, understand strategic/statutory business requirements and create effective working relationships is absolutely key to developing yourself as a responsible, professional and (importantly) employable engineer.

Now that the academic year is over, some of you may already have placements lined up. However, if you’re still looking, I would advise using this time to get in touch with your university’s placement or career adviser, as they may already know about current placement opportunities in your area, or may have contacts in local businesses they could contact on your behalf.