The main thing I learnt on placement was never to be afraid to ask. Everyone you ever work with had to start off somewhere.
When looking at degrees I knew that I wanted to have the option of doing a placement year, and was keen on an integrated masters course which would allow me to do my placement after third year when I would have more knowledge. Surrey offered this on its MEng Chemical Engineering, and is also centrally-located and partnered with a number of renowned chemical engineering companies.
I went on Professional Training placement to EDF Energy, inspired by an Energy and Industrial Systems module I completed in my third year, which got me interested in the nuclear industry and how it contributes to low carbon electricity production.
The University supports students throughout the process of securing a placement. During third year, the Professional Training and Employability team provided a list of relevant placement opportunities with closing application dates, which was a great place to start. Then once I’d been offered an interview at EDF Energy I was able to get in touch with students who’d done a placement at the company the previous year and ask them for interview advice.
At EDF Energy I was based in the Design Engineering department where my main role was authoring Engineering Changes (ECs) which are safety case style reports used to modify the plant. The main focus of an EC was to clearly and concisely explain how you were going to carry out a modification (such as removing redundant plant) without affecting nuclear safety. My role included representing the engineering department at a weekly planning meeting and liaising with a number of responsible engineers to get an idea of which stage the EC was at and whether the deadline would be met.
My proudest achievement on placement was successfully authoring an EC having completed the EC training process, and being one of the fastest industrial placement students at Sizewell ever to do so.
The main thing I learnt on placement was never to be afraid to ask. Everyone you ever work with had to start off somewhere and, if you show enthusiasm for your line of work, people will be happy to give you advice and share their knowledge.
On the MEng Chemical Engineering course at Surrey I really like the small tutorial classes and the fact that they are so interactive. Being put into groups for coursework projects has helped me to make new friends in every year of studying. One of the major benefits of studying my subject at Surrey is getting the opportunity to run the Fluor Pilot Plant, in third year, as part of a team – taking on each of the different roles that are needed for the plant to run efficiently.
Outside of studying, it’s great to have the opportunity to take part in so many different societies. Being part of the University of Surrey Yachting Team, which came eighth at the Yacht Nationals, has definitely been a highlight of my time here.
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