My Student Placement so far – Matthew

 In Student Placement Spotlight

Okay, so I’m a little over 3 months into my 12 month placement with Rolls-Royce. I’m a BEng Aerospace Engineering student at Sheffield Hallam University. I am doing cost engineering in my year placement at Rolls-Royce, specifically working on ALM which is a really interesting, relatively new manufacturing process.

So background info out the way, let me start at the beginning. The phone call. After applying for the position I had an agonising wait to hear back as to whether I had been successful or not. I was driving back to Sheffield when my phone beeped and I had received an email from my placement tutor. I pulled into a layby and read the email, it read; “Hi Matty, I may have some good news for you.” I instantly rang her (Judith) and she informed me that I had been offered the position. The feeling at that moment is unexplainable. At that moment I knew I could call myself a Rolls-Royce Engineer. (Theoretically).

Around 6 o’clock in the morning of my first day I was awake and could not get back to sleep. I felt excited, nervous and pretty much every other emotion you can think of. Finally the time came and I drove over to the Derby site and it is rather large to say the least. The chrome Rolls-Royce lettering was everywhere and really cemented the fact that I was about to start work for one of the most prestigious companies in the world. When I arrived at the office I was introduced to my team and instantly knew I was going to be very comfortable and at home. So my first week I learned a lot, met a lot of people and did plenty of training online. Only a week in and I really wanted to get stuck into some real work.

Okay so fast forwarding to a month in and I’m already an important part of the team, attending meetings, meeting deadlines and delivering work to a Rolls-Royce standard. I could never have imagined how quickly I would go from being uninvolved to being smack bang in the centre of important projects.

I’m only a quarter of the way through my placement and I have already learned more about engineering and manufacturing than I have learned in 2 years of university. The opportunities I have had and taken at Rolls-Royce is incredible. I have already undertaken a number of courses, been and visited some of the country’s top manufacturing research centres such as the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and had tours of the Rolls-Royce workshops. The opportunities at Rolls-Royce are endless.

So I’m guessing the burning question is, is the reality as good as the expectation? This is a really difficult question to answer because Rolls-Royce is pretty much renowned as being the Rolls-Royce of companies (see what I did there), and you think it’s going to be working with ground breaking technology and working up close and personal on engineering masterpieces. This however is not the case for everyone. I pretty much use a computer for all the work I do, so in some ways it doesn’t meet expectations. However the reality of it is, I go to work every day and know that the job I do and the work I deliver are pieces in the jigsaw that that makes up ground breaking, world leading engines that really are at the pinnacle of engineering. So there you have it, it may not be what I expected when I joined but I wouldn’t change a thing and I’m thoroughly enjoying my time at such a prestigious company and I can really see myself developing my career at Rolls-Royce to become a world class engineer.

In conclusion, I have really enjoyed my first 3 months and I have learned an enormous amount about engineering companies. The experience I’m gaining in a working environment will be invaluable as I pursue a career in aerospace engineering. Before I sign off, a few words of advice for anyone thinking of doing a placement. Firstly just remember you’re not tied to your desk, get up go meet people and make sure you get involved and don’t wait to be involved. Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, ASK! If you want to visit somewhere, ASK! If you don’t understand something and you can’t figure it out yourself, ASK! I really can’t stress enough how important it is to ask people. No one knows what it you want or need to help you do/enjoy your job so if there is something you really want to do then make sure you… ASK!

Okay, I’ve finished shouting ‘ask’ at you now. But honestly this placement so far has really been my next step in life, it’s been challenging don’t get me wrong but I have enjoyed every minute of it so far and like I said before, I’m only a quarter of the way through.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience so far, I hope it was insightful, fantastic and an absolute masterpiece, and if not I hope it didn’t bore you too much.

By: Matthew M – Aerospace Engineering student – Sheffield Hallam University
Role: Cost Engineer Intern ’15-16

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