Ben Shaw

Country of origin: United Kingdom

General Management Graduate, Network Rail

Ben completed two six-month placements with Rolls-Royce in Derby, experience which helped him secure a graduate job with Network Rail.

I spent my year's work placement at Rolls-Royce plc in the purchasing function, doing two six-month placements.

The first was an operational role as a buyer for high-grade alloys used to manufacture turbine blades, allowing me to understand how the turbine manufacturing plant functions and liaise alloy delivery from suppliers spread over three continents. It was a good opportunity to build supplier relationship management skills, project management skills, design and implement strategic plans, and I even received an SAP licence.

The second was more strategic, working across several cost-cutting projects in the purchasing function. These ranged from cutting $100m out of the aerospace engine manufacturing process, to a project setting the strategic direction for the $3.5bn a year spare parts business.

There is a real community spirit at Rolls-Royce between the interns and graduates, with plenty to get involved in. I regularly went rock climbing, cycling and played golf and squash with friends from work.

I also had a summer internship with PwC, working in Core Assurance as an Auditor. I had the opportunity to build a completely new skill-set and experience client-based work for four multinational companies across the Yorkshire region. It was a great chance to build teamworking skills and experience another line of work.

Both roles opened my eyes to the world of work and helped me to understand the complexities of globalised companies. The placement was definitely a great use of a year and helped me secure a graduate role at Network Rail.