Before starting my final year at university, I decided to suspend my studies for 12 months and complete an internship with Renault F1 team. I loved everything about my year in industry and would encourage everyone to do one. You can also undertake work experience whilst still at school, and just in case you need a little more convincing, here are five reasons why you should apply:
1. Hands-on experience
What better way is there to gain real insight into an industry than to experience it first-hand? I thought for a number of years that I wanted to pursue a career in Formula 1, but it was my internship that confirmed this for me. The fast-paced nature of F1 is exciting and key technical developments are constantly being made by the teams – the industry is cutting-edge. I got to experience the day-to-day tasks of a Junior Aerodynamicist and was able to see for myself how I could progress through my career and what different roles are likely to entail. I feel lucky to have found an industry I am so passionate about. However, even if you decide that you wouldn't pursue a career in the industry of your work experience, at least you will have ruled it out. Understanding why you wouldn't want to do a particular job can be just as useful as finding something you want to do.
2. Learn from the best
One of the highlights from my year with Renault was the people I worked alongside. A placement provides you with the opportunity to work under the guidance of experienced and inspiring professionals. These are the people who are shaping the industry and they have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they are more than willing to share. I have fantastic role models and mentors from Renault who taught me so much and pushed me to get the most from my internship.
3. Personal Development
Honestly, walking into the factory on the first day of my internship was terrifying, although evenly matched by the excitement I was feeling. The important thing to remember is that this is completely normal and, by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you will build confidence. I tried to say yes to every experience I was offered whilst at Renault. Whether presenting results to the rest of the aerodynamics department or running a wind tunnel shift – I said yes! These challenging situations enabled me to overcome my fear of public speaking, provided me with a variety of new skills and experiences, and have shaped me into a much more confident person.
4. Stand out from the crowd
Industrial experience will help you to stand out when completing future applications, whether this be for UCAS, internships or even a job. I know that my internship played a huge part in my securing a job ahead of graduation. Completing a placement shows that you are proactive, have experience of a professional environment, and that you have developed several soft skills such as teamwork and communication. On top of this, you will have vastly extended your technical knowledge.
5. It’s fun
The biggest takeaway from my year in industry was how enjoyable it was. I laughed a lot, met some amazing people, and learnt more than I thought possible. I think this alone is reason enough to apply.