Most engineering students are required to complete 12 weeks of professional work experience before they can graduate as a qualified engineer. Here are some ways to make the most of your time with a vacation student.
Give the student a technical project
Rather than just having the student shadow you, it can be good to give them a project to manage. This could include conducting a number of tests to provide you with compliance data on noise or thermal insulation or helping to work with the design team to redraft parts of the plan to help manage any changes to the build. This is useful for you as it helps to reduce the work you do as well as allows them to develop some practical technical skills in the workplace which they can use as a reference at university. You can also use this as a chance to observe how they interact with other staff as well as their attention to detail.
Place them on some teams
It can also be useful to get them to work with some of the teams within the project so that they can see how some of the different roles in the workplace interact professionally. You can ask them to do a role such as taking notes and booking meeting rooms to see how they can deal with other team members and how they can manage their time when they have competing priorities. This helps to show them some of the important non-technical work that engineers do in the workplace.
Ask the student to summarise their experiences
It's also a good idea to ask the student to write a report and do a presentation that summarises their experiences of the company, including any ideas on what the company can do better. This can be a great way to get a fresh pair of eyes to look at the company, and you may get some great ideas on the latest research and development in your field which can be hard to keep up with as you get busy in your professional career. This also lets you observe their verbal and written communication skills.
By planning the workload of vacation engineering students effectively you can reduce your professional workload as well as observe how effectively they can operate as an engineer. This can be a great way to find skilled junior or graduate engineers that can fit into your company effectively.