Expectation & Excellence
established 1546

Colyton Grammar School
Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths


Work Experience

Tallie B – The Met Office

During my four days at the Met Office, I learned a lot about the different sections, of which there are many! I was based in Weather Science with the Weather Impacts team. My project over the four days was to download data about road traffic all over the UK, and analyse the data – creating a short report at the end. To review the data I had to run it through a number of different 'Python' programmes and Visual Basic macros, so that it was in a readable and more suitable format for analysis. Although most people working at the Met Office are able to write detailed programs themselves, as this is part of their training, they are also able to go to the IT department and have programs written for them.

I found this extremely interesting as it allowed me to experiment and work with pre-written programs, adding my own lines of code and changing others. This gave me an insight into the use of coding at the Met Office, and also helped me with Computer Science lessons back at school. As well as this I got the opportunity to see the Cray supercomputer (even if it was just through a window in the door!) and even though it was just a small part – the size and noise of it was phenomenal.

Overall, it was an amazing experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone, particularly those with an interest in geography, physics or computer science, as there really is something for everyone at the Met Office, depending on your interests and skill sets (e.g. one person I spoke to from the IT department had previously been to Art College and then become a commercial pilot!).

Ellen A – D2 Creative

For my work experience I went to D2 Creative, a design firm in Topsham. Upon arrival I was greeted, shown around the work area and then shortly after I was set to do preliminary research for the rebranding of ‘Bridge Motorcycles’ in Exeter. I really enjoyed being able to witness and assist with each different stage of the process, learning about the different stages involved with any specific project. In this job, you need to have extremely good quality communication skills, as well as being very creative and able to solve problems imaginatively.

A good understanding of up-to-date IT design software would certainly be helpful in this area of work. A knowledge of possible engineering/manufacturing tasks, depending on the project in hand, from a practical perspective is also helpful in the design process. I did also use some of my GCSE maths skills when designing logos by hand (e.g. trigonometry). I would really recommend this placement to another student because it gives a really good insight into each aspect of the process and I also got hands-on experience in this area of work.

Jason W – SC Group Supacat

I carried out my work experience at SC Group Supacat (formerly Supacat Ltd), who produce military/defence vehicles, where I spent a week in the design office. The majority of my time was taken up by reverse engineering (creating 3D models on the computer using SolidWorks software) damper components of the LRV400 vehicle (Light Reconnaissance Vehicle), which is a vehicle currently in its final design stages. This also highlighted the importance of communication in an office, especially with people in different departments. This helped me improve my CAD skills which are weaker in comparison to my technical knowledge, hand-design and practical skills.

This placement really helped me understand what an office based job would be like, as well as the basic design stages.  I visited the maintenance depot to see where basic construction work was carried out, two prototypes for the LRV400, a vehicle made specifically for the Bloodhound SSC and also various systems being trialled for vehicles (such as a new engine cooling system for the Coyote vehicles). Talking to one employee I also was given suggestions about careers, including important comparisons between apprenticeships and degrees.

Overall it was an interesting experience, extremely useful for me in considering what sort of engineering job I would consider and also increasing my design skills (Computer Aided Design in particular).

Chloe L – Barry Honeysett Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers

I went to Barry Honeysett Consulting Structural and Civil Engineers. They specialise in working with cobs (buildings which are made from mud and water) and coming up with structural solutions to new or existing properties.

I spent my four days shadowing a Senior Structural Design Engineer. I learnt how to use AutoCAD, and I was given a sketched plan of one of their projects and was told to reproduce it on AutoCAD. I also had the task of using a laser measuring tape to draw a plan and elevation of the office. This allowed me to practise the skills I had learnt over the past few days. I also was shown how moments are used to calculate the size of joists required to hold a floor etc.

On the last day, I was shown examples of structures around Exeter, the materials used, and the forces behind them. The qualities required for this line of work are perseverance and  being able to switch your mind set, as they have many projects going on at the same time so they have to be able to balance it all.

Jake L – Eaton Aerospace

I did my work experience at Eaton Aerospace, a company which makes precision parts (sometimes to a tolerance of 1 micrometre!), such as actuators and fuel valves for planes such as the Airbus A380 and the Eurofighter Typhoon. While there I experienced manufacturing engineering, stress engineering and design engineering. I also got to assemble some parts. One of the most important qualities needed in this line of work is carefully checking work for mistakes, as these parts are often very important in the aircraft they’re used in and have to pass rigorous tests.

Overall I found the experience really interesting and useful, and I would definitely recommend it to another student!

Danielle B – St Boniface Veterinary Clinic

I carried out my week's work experience at St Boniface Veterinary Clinic in Crediton.  I observed many different aspects of the job while I was there, including various surgical procedures (including a laparoscopic spay), consultations and canine hydrotherapy.  I found that there are many qualities required in the role of a veterinarian, not only with animals, as I witnessed many vets having to extract and supply information about pets to the people involved, as well as the tact needed to break bad news to owners. 

I found that this placement was a great insight to the life of a vet and what it entails. I would definitely recommend it to someone who was very interested in the career; the main benefits were from getting involved and asking questions.

Yuzhou T – Science PGCE Department, Exeter University

I did my Year 11 work experience at the University of Exeter, specifically in the science department for PGCE students learning to become secondary school teachers. I assisted the technician in preparing equipment and resources before a lesson, and tidying up and checking equipment after each lesson.

One of the main skills you need as a technician is organisation. Very often they need to prepare equipment days before the actual lesson. This careful planning ensures everything runs smoothly and issues are dealt with before each lesson.

I would definitely recommend this experience. There were so many exciting jobs that I had to do alongside the technician. For example, on the second day I had to prepare solutions of potassium and other alkali metals. This involved a lot of chemistry but fortunately it wasn’t very difficult. As well as that, I had the opportunity to cut different group 1 metals and prepare them for the practical experiments in lessons. I cut a range of alkali metals such as lithium, sodium and potassium. Getting hands on with GCSE science was extremely enjoyable. That being said, preparing and cleaning up dissections of fish wasn’t the most pleasant experience I had.

I found this experience really interesting and fun. If you’re an active and hands-on person, then you would thoroughly enjoy this placement.

Emilie T – Ottery St Mary Hospital

I did my work experience at Ottery St Mary Hospital and I was able to see many different parts of the hospital on different days. I helped at a day care centre for elderly people with problems such as dementia, as well as assisting the nurses and physiotherapists on the stroke ward. I was also allowed to help in the main reception, in a leg ulcer clinic and in a baby clinic. Being able to see such a wide range of roles in the hospital was really interesting, and was a really great experience that I would definitely recommend to other students.

My favourite part was shadowing the nurses on the ward, because it was really interesting to see how they worked to rehabilitate the patients to allow them to move back into their own homes.

James O – Physics Department, Exeter University

For my work experience I went to the Physics Department at the University of Exeter. I mainly worked with Dr Alice Mills, who is the Ogden Science Trust Outreach Officer, as well as partially working with other people in the department such as lecturers and students.  I was given the task of designing an outreach lesson suitable for secondary school students.  As well as working independently on this project I did get to see other aspects of the Physics department, including attending a seminar on black holes.

To work as an Outreach Officer you need to be outgoing, a good communicator, organised, efficient and enjoy Physics and want to encourage those who aren’t usually engaged in STEM subjects.

I really enjoyed the work experience. I went into it hoping that it would help me to decide which STEM subject I would like to study at university, and it has opened my mind to the possibilities. So from my point of view it was very successful. I would recommend it to anyone who is planning on doing a STEM subject at University.