Interview – Placement student from Cambridge University

I have been at metrology software products since July undertaking a summer placement as a trainee engineer and only have a week left before I continue with my engineering degree and enter my second year at Cambridge University. It has been both exciting and challenging and will significantly enhance my degree course and help me when I choose to specialise in my third and fourth years. This is not my first experience of undertaking a placement with MSP. I decided I wanted to do a placement before I went to University and thankfully, through the company, this was possible. I worked here from August 2012 to August 2013 and enjoyed the experience thoroughly, prompting me to take up this opportunity in the summer.

The company supply 5-axis part manufacturing solutions for global manufacturers. They have changed the way the world makes parts for aerospace and high end automotive racing teams with their multi-award winning system NC-PerfectPart. It is exciting and highly rewarding to be working on such innovative projects.

Typically my work has included customer specific projects and the development of MSP’s innovative machine checking software; NC-Checker. For this project, I have been working on calculating kinematic offset errors in various axes on the machine tools (the machine thinking it rotates differently to how it does). Using this, MSP can offer additional diagnostics using NC-Checker and enhance their offering for customers.

Specific tasks have included developing test programs for a prestigious formula one team to gauge the functionality of their controller and diagnosing and fixing errors at GKN. I have also had the chance to work on improving documentation that is sent out to customers.

As well as the development of my programming skills, both placements have allowed me to get involved with many areas of engineering and have been invaluable at providing me with extensive knowledge and understanding of the industry. This insight is particularly useful for my engineering degree as it provides a background to why parts of the course are studied and how they are applied.

Many students wishing to undertake a placement tend to choose well-known organisations, however, for me, working for a local company has been much more beneficial. My manager has been very helpful and accommodating regarding my degree course and throughout I have felt like a valued member of the team.

During placement I have been involved in many areas of the company’s work, allowing me to broaden my skills and experience significantly. In organisations with a large uptake of placement students, the work may be limited to a narrow range of projects. My experience has been anything but limited and I have had the chance to work closely with notable aerospace and motorsport companies, effectively working as a consultant and expert.

Working at a company like MSP also means there is opportunity to make a big impact. There are less people per project, so my input is crucial. This responsibility and pressure is challenging at times but has increased my confidence and desire to learn. This project based work has also developed my team work and communication skills which shall be useful for the extensive group work undertaken at University.

Overall, I am pleased to have had these two opportunities to experience the real life industry, significantly enhance my skills and build up my confidence. This has been a perfect accompaniment to the theory taught at University and I would recommend a career at MSP to anyone interested in software and engineering.

“Software forms a significant part of my degree course and the skills and knowledge I have gained during my time at MSP will be beneficial as I progress through University. Furthermore, this placement has provided great practical experience to accompany the theory I will encounter throughout my degree.”