A year in the life of YINI placement
When I started working at a Breathing Buildings, I half expected that I would be left to the task of making tea and coffee or photocopying. The was not the case, however. My role has in fact been quite similar to that of the other design engineers. The work I have been given has often challenged me, especially at the start as there was quite a steep learning curve.
It didn’t take me very long to settle into the work environment at Breathing Buildings. This was probably mostly due to the atmosphere at work being a lot less formal than most companies. I found my colleagues to be extremely friendly and almost always willing to help. It was far from the stiff, corporate environment I had imagined it would be.
On the first day of work, I was given a run through of the company and made familiar with the products. By the end of the first week I was given my very first project to design – with appropriate help and oversight, of course. The average design project involves coming up with a ventilation scheme using our in-house thermal modelling software. We receive information about the space from clients which are then input into the model. A proposal is then made based on the calculations. I remember initially feeling very out of my depth; the theory took a long time for me to wrap my head around and I had to repeatedly ask for help. This did however, teach me the importance of asking questions – I soon got to grips with it all. I can now work on projects that aren’t quite standard and I’m able to make assumptions and decisions on my own.
I have also had the opportunity to familiarise myself with the other aspects of the business including the sales side of things. I’ve attended sales meetings and generated quotations. This has given me an appreciation for the fact that there are more factors to consider than just the engineering solution. Things like price and the client’s needs are equally important.
Whilst most of my time is spent in the office, there are times when I am sent to out to do some work that is more hands on. The second week of my placement I was sent to the factory to do some manual labour. Despite my initial grumblings about the manual labour, it turned out to be quite a rewarding experience. I had the opportunity to actually build the units that we sell. Additionally I got to make a pun about how the experience was ‘riveting’, when using a rivet gun to put the unit together.
The placement has also given me an opportunity to learn some new technical skills. Design work can often get repetitive so I decided to start learning CFD. So far I have only begun to model simple pipe flows, but it has provided me with an interesting challenge as well as giving me a head start for next year.
This year has proved to be an excellent opportunity for me. I have learned a lot about what it is like working in a professional environment, and it has given me a chance to apply the theoretical knowledge I gained at university in a real life situation. I would very much recommend doing a placement year.