Name: Andrew Lewis
Company: Foster Refrigerator
Location: Kings Lynn
Course: Industrial Design and Technology
· Why did you choose to do a placement?
For me, it seemed a logical progression in my studies. I think there’s only so much that can be taught within a university environment; so getting out into the real world and applying the skills I have to contribute to the company, along with learning valuable ones from them, seemed like a good prospect. The fact that it’s a lovely feeling to get paid for your efforts didn’t exactly stand against it either!
· How did you choose where to apply?
I wanted a more technical based placement than is usually found on an industrial design course, so when I heard about the position at Foster I was very interested. I currently work as a trainee design and draft engineer, which I see as a very positive thing to have on my CV, and a definite step in a more technical direction.
· How have you enjoyed working this year?
So far it’s been really enjoyable. From the start I’ve received good training and am now moving on to larger projects within the company. It’s really rewarding to see my work being used, and actively developed for use within their products. Foster manufacture on site as well as designing, so I get to see work I have done going into the products daily. Having your decisions make an impact on real world things can add pressure, but it is also very rewarding.
· What is a typical day like?
Wake up (too) early and get to the office around 8:15 in time for a cuppa and to assess the day’s work. Sometimes it will be an ongoing project, other days I will have to drop everything to respond to a different task that needs solving quickly. One of the things stressed in my interview was the need to be flexible and work on several things at once: a useful skill. From then I may work on CAD models or liaise with manufacturers, or run test work on prototypes. There’s a lot of variety which you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a commercial refrigeration company! Lunch is usually around one, and then we work through till five.
· How has it/it not benefitted you?
It has definitely benefitted me in a number of ways: the experience of the world of work, improvement to my communication skills throughout a varied group of colleagues/ workforce, the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects, and the chance to meet new people and learning new software. There are too many to list really, and being paid to go to Paris next month isn’t too bad either!
· Would you recommend other students to do a placement year?
Without a doubt, you will learn a huge amount which will benefit you not only in your time at university, but also stand you in good stead for the rest of your career. Doing well on placement can lead to being offered a job in some cases, and even if that doesn’t happen, your transition into the working world will probably be smoother and easier because of it.
· What are your plans after university?
After hopefully surviving final year (gulp) I hope to land a decent job, earn some money, see some more of the world and generally maintain a decent lifestyle around the hypothesis of “work hard, play hard”.