After going on a few programmes over the summer, I really believe that work experience is a great idea. An extract from this piece I wrote has been printed in my school magazine!
Spending a week working with helicopters opened my eyes to the world of work, where engineering meets business. The programme gave me an understanding of how technologies can be applied to improve everything from safety and performance of the helicopters to efficiency in marketing and quality of training.
I witnessed how each component of the helicopter progressed from design, to manufacture (the entire helicopter is assembled by hand!), to testing, to marketed product. All the while I was developing the important soft skills that are valuable in the workplace (including presentation skills, team working, communication and problem-solving) during the many group activities throughout the week.
I found the week very enjoyable – personal highlights comprise the tours around the company and having a go on the simulator. The physics of flight becomes more impressive when you see the incredible load being lifted; learning about the many kilometres of wiring is one thing, but seeing it attached to the frame of the helicopter is quite another!
The marketing and support services provided are integral to the success of the business, and this work experience has demonstrated that engineers must have an understanding of these areas as well as of the science.
However, the biggest impression on me was made by the sheer passion of everybody there – everyone was excited to share their projects with us. Particular thanks must go to the graduates who organised and ran the programme efficiently and engagingly.
I really recommend you try out some work experience – it reminds you why you’re learning and guides you towards the sector that you might end up working in!