Category Archives: Manufacturing, Engineering and Processing

Student Case Study:  Asbri Planning  

Name of Student:  Alec Stevens 

Degree Subject: BA/BSC Geography – Cornwall 

Job Title:  Graduate Planner

Company Name: Asbri Planning

Type of Internship:  Access to Internships (A2I)

Description of Company: Asbri Planning is a planning and development consultancy, which has offices based in Cardiff and Swansea. We work in the development industry with the main aim to see our clients obtain planning consent for development. At Asbri Planning, we pride ourselves on offering honest and forthright planning advice and we only promote projects that we are confident will result in a successful planning outcome. Central to our approach are the client’s business needs and commercial objectives.

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

Research of planning policy and procedure of relevant planning acts and regulations in relation to potential developments; completing initial planning applications for potential developments; aid in the completion of site appraisals and design and access statements and to observe and make relevant minutes for offsite meetings.           

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?

I delivered several design and access statements where I documented information for the client and relevant governing bodies such as Powys County Council. I was also involved with pre-applications and appraisals where the viability of proposed developments were investigated.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

Completing a full design and access statement individually.

  • Situation – Client (Powys County Council) needs a design and access statement which includes all relevant information and debate over a proposed development in LLanidloes.
  • Task – Complete the full DAS for the client in time bound conditions.
  • Actions – Acquiring the relevant data and information from a variety of sources and then compiling an attractive document that is also effective for all parties involved.
  • Results – The DAS was officially confirmed and sent to the client and the governing body and will be accepted subject to pre-commencement conditions.

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

In hindsight I felt as though I was reluctant to ask questions during office hours due to the intensity of the office environment. All of my colleagues were busy at almost all times and I felt questions would have hindered or slowed their progress on other jobs. In the future I will most definitely address this by not being afraid to interrupt others if its for the overall benefit of the company I am working for.

Skills Learnt 

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Time and Work Load Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Ability to work under pressure

Attributes Developed 

  • Researching
  • Networking
  • Independence
  • Confidence
  • Professionalism

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“My internship was career specific and enjoyable and thus given me that extra boost of motivation going into my third year to continue on my current path to achieve what I want out of my career. I would thoroughly recommend any student going into a career specific internship as it gives you experience that just is not acquirable in the University Library.”

 

Engineering Intern – Designability

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

  • Design work on a saddle seat for a dynamic wheelchair for children with dystonic cerebral palsy.
  • Documentation of the engineering design process, including design specification, research findings and concept and detail drawings.
  • Home visits to a family with a child with dystonic cerebral palsy (who will test the wheelchair in its early stages and eventually use it) – I collaborated with other engineers and occupational therapists to determine the best design for the saddle seat.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My work proposed a specific design for a saddle seat to replace a currently used off-the-shelf bicycle saddle which was unfit for purpose. The design better addresses the complex needs of the user. The research and design work I completed lightened the workload of colleagues.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

My time included home visits to a child who would be using the saddle seat – this improved my skills in user-centred design and helped me understand the complex requirements of seating for dystonic cerebral palsy children. I improved my team working skills, in consulting other engineers/ occupational therapists on my design. I became more confident in putting forward my ideas, as well as understanding criticisms.

Research Assistant in Acoustics – University of Exeter CEMPS

It was a really valuable experience that allowed me to get involved with cutting edge research in the CEMPS department at Exeter. It gave me the opportunity to network with PhD students and find out about their research projects. This experience has helped me to shape my future career plans and I will be returning to the University of Exeter in January as a postgraduate research student.

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

  • Fabrication of underwater thermo-acoustic devices for experiments.
  • Building heat transfer simulations on FORTRAN to model the thermo-acoustic device in different mediums.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement was making the devices as this was a trial and error process, so it took patience and several unsuccessful attempts before creating a working device. After each attempt, it was necessary to pin point which step in the fabrication process was damaging the device and then alter the fabrication method in line with the findings. This process led to a thermo-acoustic device that could be tested underwater.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Ability to work under pressure, IT, decision making

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, motivation, independence

Research Assistant – University of Exeter College of Life and Environmental Sciences

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Facilitate biomechanical recording of our participants, manage data stores and exportation for analysis, work with an engineer to write a MATLAB script to analyse the raw data produced, and create a list of gait parameters that could be investigated.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

When creating a MATLAB script alongside the engineer, I have never written any code before and having a project with a set goal in mind allowed me to be goal orientated and state what I wanted the script to do. This allowed targeting the specific parameters relatively easy.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I worked independently with another student to Facilitate data collection, and created a package for analysis, both of which meant that she had more time to focus on the tasks that were of her level of technical ability

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Time and workload management, assessing and managing risk, decision making

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Personal awareness, cultural awareness, independence

Research Assistant and Project Analyst – CEMPS Renewables and Pure Energy Professionals

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

CEMPS: analysis of wave data for FaB Test and assisting with the annual environmental survey

PEP: identifying and presenting storage opportunities in Cornwall, doing an analysis of wind turbine assets managed by PEP and producing a report

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Programming used to feel like one of my weaknesses and I can now say that I feel confident using Matlab in a more instinctive way.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

CEMPS: I analysed wave data to produce charts for potential developers, which would have been fairly time-consuming for the existing staff

PEP: the potential storage opportunities map is likely to be used in the next few weeks or months

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Enterprise, research, problem solving

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Motivation, personal awareness, work ethic

Commercial Research Intern – Vivacity Labs

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main roles were to do research for projects that they wanted to undertake with councils and international organisations. I would also research the councils themselves to look for angles that would allow the company to better align themselves with their client’s needs. I was tasked to edit and complete their website so that it could go live and set up a blog strategy for the company to follow once I left.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement was editing and working on the website. When I joined the website needed a lot of work and I did most of the editing, adding of content and creating the blog strategy. It took a long time but seeing how the website looks now makes me proud.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I completed lots of research that will help them now and in the long term, including information to help in meetings and lists of contact details of people needing to be contacted in all the boroughs in London. I did research that would help with deciding which cities to install products in as part of an EU project, and this helped take the load off the rest of the marketing team.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Persuasion, customer service, decision making

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Commercial awareness, logical thinking, creative thinking

Engineering Intern – MB Aerospace

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

I was tasked with improving the current grinding process cycle time for the turbine aerofoils. I also undertook a side project during my time which was to automize the turbine cleaning process. From these I developed new skills and built valuable industrial experience I wouldn’t have been able to develop from a university.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I managed to reduce the cycle time by a significant amount which over exceeded the level expected by an intern. This boosted my confidence massively and I feel capable to go into other companies and repeat the same success.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

In order to reduce the cycle time, I had to perform a detailed analysis of exactly how and where waste occurs in the process. I then acted on this allowing them to produce more parts per year and therefore make more money. More importantly, though I left them with areas where they could continue to make improvements and further reduce the time with using few resources.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Strategic planning, focus on goals and outcomes, assessing and managing risk

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Commercial awareness, creative thinking, independence

Renewable Technology Designer – Eco NRG

energy

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

The internship was at a small company that provides quotes and installations for various renewable energy technologies across the south west. Because the team I was working alongside was so small, I had a varied range of roles. I sized up heat demands for new builds and selected the pumps that would be installed for many projects. I relayed the potential energy generation and panel layout for solar PV projects. During the internship it quickly became apparent that my IT skills were far beyond that of anyone who worked for the company, so I was put to work updating the website, which hadn’t been touched in years.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I gained some real world work experience in the renewables sector – something that I never managed to engage in during or between years of my degree!

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

Adding a layer of IT fluency no-one else had, taking over the website, social media management, and some aspects of administration, allowing others to focus on more technical aspects of the company. Most notably, I discovered techniques and simple software that drastically reduced the time needed to convert architect blueprints into usable measurements for heat loss calculations.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

During the second half of the internship business really slowed down – which is really to say that the first six weeks were unusually busy, and during that period I had very little downtime. When the technical side of my job got more quiet it was then I turned my attention to the IT side of things, but even then this did not completely solve the boredom that came up from a lack of work to do.

Junior Electronics Engineer – Michael J Watts Consultant

technology-computer-chips-gigabyte

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My job was the design and development of prototype electronic design products. I worked on soldering and analogue design and also embedded software development.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement was bettering my programming skills as a whole.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

My experience surrounding electronics and I provided a different approach to looking at his problems.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

I met problems using components I had not used yet. Everyday day I have been learning new skills. I also learnt how to properly design PCB schematics which was something we did not learn at University.

“We have found Exeter graduates to be of extremely high calibre both technically and as employees; enthusiastic, thinking ‘outside the box’ and providing high quality work” – Line Manager

Mathematics Module Development Assistant – University of Exeter (CEMPS)

calculator-scientific

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

To design and create a mathematics online-learning resource for engineering conversion course students as part of a small team. This involved planning and producing a zero-credit module on the ELE platform, selecting mathematical content to include, researching additional content, writing lectures and notes using ELE platform and LaTeX, creating quizzes and problem sheets to test understanding and liaising with academic staff to verify our content was correct.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learnt how to plan, organise and time-keep a large-scale project. Our employers had no mathematical expertise, which gave us complete responsibility for the project’s quality and validity.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

My employer now has a mathematics e-learning resource that can be used by engineering conversion course students for multiple years to come. This content can also be sent out in file format to explain what the course will entail. In addition, it will be advertised among professors at the university as a learning/revision tool for first and second year students. It is also held by the university’s IT department as a leading example of a high-quality online learning and teaching resource created using the ELE platform.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

Firstly, I found myself tasked with producing content which I didn’t understand since the courses for mathematics and engineering students differs slightly. I overcame this problem by asking an engineering professor for a relevant textbook from the library and taught myself the content. I then wrote my set of lecture notes and gave it to my fellow colleagues who also had never encountered this content. They questioned bits that didn’t make sense and I made corrections until we all agreed the content was explained well.

Secondly, we had to decide what content to put in the module and how to structure it. Whilst the team had strong ideas of what mathematics we would need (such as Algebra, Calculus, Vectors, etc) none of us were engineering students. Our strategy was to seek advice from an engineering professor who made additional suggestions we hadn’t considered (such as Numerical Methods and Statistical Testing). The professor also offered us her module as a template structure for our content. This was later adapted and changed since we felt the structure could be improved.

“Evan has acted in a professional manner and remained focused on the project objective. As a result of this, he has produced some very high quality resources using a wide range technologies and the tools within ELE” – Line Manager