"Do it! Honestly, as difficult or daunting as it may seem, it will be one of the best things you ever do....."
Gregor Milne is a current Computer Systems & Networks student at Edinburgh Napier University, who took part in a 12 month placement with Caterpillar Inc. We asked Gregor to tell us a little about himself.
"Like most computing students, I have a real interest in pretty much all things related to computing, whether it be technology, gaming or music. I really try and expose myself to all aspects. Besides computing, I'm extremely interested in motor sports, particularly F1 and IndyCar, and once I graduate, I plan to attend the Indianapolis 500 along with 200,000 plus people. My other real interest is drumming, I've been playing for about 8 years."
Gregor goes on to tell us about his motivations for applying for a work placement and the support on offer. "What really motivated me to get a placement was attending the Edinburgh Napier University Open Day in 2013, where they promoted the opportunity of undertaking an industrial placement. It sounded like an opportunity, I couldn’t pass up on and immediately made Edinburgh Napier my top choice. Doing a placement year was an easy decision for me because at the end of my degree, I will be competing with other graduates who may have the same degree classification as me. However, in addition, I will have a year’s worth of practical work experience in a demanding environment, which should help move my application to the top of the pile! The university offered a lot of different support, such as a placement tutor and placement coordinator, providing you with all the information you need!".
"I completed my placement year at Caterpillar Inc. down in Bournemouth, England. The year was an experience, I wouldn’t take back for anything! I made so many great friends whilst also gaining practical work experience that I didn’t think would quite be possible on a placement year. The work was demanding, but more than anything it was relevant and interesting. I worked on multiple projects that will impact the business for years to come and I hope to stay in contact with Caterpillar as I progress through my studies. Caterpillar offered me many ways of expanding my knowledge during my time with them. One notable course was the lean business practice course, as well as a multitude of online resources to self-train with."
"The biggest thing I got out of my year with them was the unbelievable amount of business knowledge I left with. I entered with virtually zero knowledge and anytime there was a meeting or online presentation regarding the business I attended it. I want to take this chance to thank Caterpillar again for just an incredible year and letting me work for them and their historic business."
Gregor offers this advice to students considering whether or not to take part in a work placement. "Do it! Honestly, as difficult or daunting as it may seem it will be one of the best things you ever do. I can only think of positives when looking back on my year at Caterpillar and I do not believe I would be the same person without that company or my time on placement. Also, look for opportunities outside of Scotland because there are some truly incredible placements out there waiting for a student and why can’t that student be you?
Finally, I want to pass on a bit of advice a former placement student gave to me, this placement will be whatever you make it, you can choose to do the minimal amount or you can choose to take every chance and immerse yourself fully with the job, so make the most of it."