An informative case study from a past graduate about being on a electrical engineering graduate scheme.

My time as an Electrical Engineer placement student at Corus

When I started applying for one-year placements our placement tutor in university immediately told us that only a third of the class would actually get a placement due to a lack of companies. This was quite a shock and it made me more determined to find a suitable placement because I realised it could be vital for future work prospects.

A good Engineering internship is difficult to obtain. I applied for around fifteen engineering placements and only received two replies.

The assessment process was very stringent. The first stage is the completion of an application form, which is not just a matter of writing down personal details and education. Specific questions are asked that are designed to see what kind of person you are and what aims you have for the future. If they are interested in your application you are then interviewed. During this time the interviewer asks in depth questions with the aim of seeing if you are suitable for the company.

To date my placement has continually interested me on a daily basis. The main thing I have found is as soon as I started my Corus placement they do not look at you as "the tea maker who watches other people work", they really value any input the placement student can make and treat you as a team member from the outset. A level of responsibility is also placed upon you to assess how you cope with pressure on a daily basis.

This means that you feel important and this has been the main factor during this placement that has given me real job satisfaction. Every week I am constantly experiencing and learning new things. On a day to day basis I have to do the normal jobs such as assessing and ordering equipment for future electrical jobs. I have also been continually involved in major long term tasks such as building a high quality control panel (which was used on the line) and many other tasks in unison with all of the qualified electrical engineers. At the moment I am planning an EDAS (Electronic Data Analysis System) project which will increase the number of rolls constantly monitored on the line as well as dramatically improving the monitoring station itself - improving the chances of finding a roll fault. This is an important job that requires a lot of responsibility.

During down days I am always working with engineers to carry out many maintenance and improvement jobs throughout the line. I have found that down days are when you gain the most knowledge of the plant learning from the experience of present staff.

Since starting here I have also seen the importance of working in a team on the line in terms of combining the roles of everybody. I have found that Mechanical, Electrical and Production must communicate all of the time otherwise problems will occur. This is why a daily meeting is vital. As well as down day and safety meetings on a weekly basis.

I generally mix my day with field and office work about 50/50. One major thing you notice when working at Corus is that you are not just out on plant all of the time fixing equipment, You must also spend a lot of time planning and designating jobs to other team members. I have found this to be the main difference between an Electrician and an Electrical engineer.

An Electrician is allocated jobs but an Electrical Engineer must assign the jobs and be much more dedicated to the overall running of the line. As an Electrical Engineer you must be very safety conscious and I have discovered at Corus that this is an essential consideration when carrying out any jobs. I have been on many training courses including Risk assessment and a safe working procedure course. On gaining a placement at Corus as an undergraduate you soon realise that they hope to not just employ you for a year, but view you as a future Electrical Engineer at the company if they believe you have the potential. The encouragement received has made me want to work as hard as I can for the second half of my placement to give the best possible chance of a future within Corus.