Meet the Industrial Placement Students

An Industrial Placement is a year-long internship for undergraduate students sandwiched between their penultimate and final year of study. The following students have all taken an Industrial Placement and share their experiences below:

Anna Donovan, Waste Management

Calum Bucknall, IT

Anna Donovan, Waste Management at Suffolk County Council

Before starting my placement, I didn’t have much knowledge of the world of waste, but even after three months, I feel much more confident and have a much better understanding of the waste industry, which I hope to build on during the next 9 months. My placement has also given me a good understanding of how austerity affects local government with there being a demand for better and improved services, yet budget cuts mean that these services aren’t as easy to deliver.

In the first twelve weeks of my placement, I have been involved in a range of different projects with both the service development and service delivery teams, tours of the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) and Energy from Waste (EfW) facility and projects with district councils and the Suffolk Waste Partnership such as the Fresh Pod project. I have been working with colleagues on a project which aims to reduce contamination in recycling bins, for this I have created a feedback questionnaire, Facebook ads as well as a FAQ sheet for call teams to answer if they have any queries from residents. It has been a brilliant opportunity to work with different people in the Suffolk Waste Partnership and given me understanding about how the partnership works together.

I have enjoyed visiting the waste facilities around Suffolk such as transfer stations, Household Waste Recycling Centres, the EfW facility and the MRF, as this has helped me in meetings as I understand what these facilities do when they are spoken about. I found it interesting that even the waste from my local council in Essex is taken to the waste facilities here in Suffolk.

One of the most exciting activities I have been involved with so far was Latitude Festival. It was great to work with the team at such a brilliant event. It was also fun to create arts and crafts with young children and show them how household items that they would have thrown away could instead be reused, thus driving waste up the waste hierarchy.

Over the next 9 months, I am looking forward to continuing with projects I am already involved with, as well as beginning new projects such as planning Recycle Week 2017 and helping with MRF tours. I am also looking forward to attending the LARAC Conference in November with my colleagues.

I am really enjoying working in the Waste Team at Suffolk County Council, they are a great team to work with and they have all made me feel so welcome.

Calum Bucknall, IT at Suffolk County Council

I’ve spent my first couple of months moving between teams within the IT department for Suffolk County Council, based in Constantine House, Ipswich. Working within this department has opened my eyes to the processes and procedures required within a corporate environment and given me a great insight into how large-scale IT departments operate.

I was originally introduced to the Service Bridge and IT Service desk, which allowed me to get hands-on experience with first Line teams and get to grips with some of key programs used like SupportWorks, which was unlike anything I had used prior to joining SCC. I experienced the daily issues and workloads, while also viewing some of the more uncommon problems that can arise in this environment. While with the Service desk I spent time on the IT Platform in Endeavour House, which was a completely new experience for me, but I quickly came to appreciate how effective it is, from both the customer’s and engineer’s point of view.

After this I spent roughly a month with Unified Comms, helping with the deployment of phones across Suffolk. My colleagues were more than happy for me to get stuck in, helping deploy Skype headsets as orders came in and adding new orders to the schedule. There were aspects I had to learn myself while working with this team, such as some of the more in-depth Excel formulas, but I tackled the challenge the best I could, which helped give me a real sense of pride and fulfilment in the work I did. I also felt highly appreciated by the team, which really helped my motivation and drive, as it helped me feel more like an asset than simply just an intern.

I am currently working with Desktop team, helping with the building and deployment of laptops within the council. This has been a very active environment, with a large project under way that is being tweaked daily, which has helped keep me on my toes and fully engaged with the role. It has allowed me to learn and understand how important it is that compliance is followed and has thrown challenges at me daily as “quirks” within the laptop builds appear and must be resolved.

Overall, I have greatly enjoyed my time with SCC. Originally, I was nervous about joining such a large workforce, but everyone I have worked with, or even just spent time talking to, has been so friendly and welcoming. I have already learnt a great deal in relation to working in a large IT department and working for a large organisation in general. My placement lasts until June, and with lots planned for the coming months, I look forward to the rest of my time here.