A fairly major part of my course this year, as anyone who has either spoken to me (or "listened to me moaning" as it could otherwise be called) in the last couple of months or reads this blog will know, is that I get shipped off at various points in the year to factories around the UK to do some sort of mild manufacturing/management consultancy work for zero pay. We then have to write an assessed report on what we did and all that jazz.
The first half of this week was our 3-day induction placement. The induction placement packs us into larger groups than normal (nine of us) and is shorter, with the idea that we pick up a bit of an experience without things dragging on too long for our first attempt. On the upside, we get a few days in an expenses-paid B&B outside of Cambridge and have expenses that sort of go towards paying for the various pub dinners we have while we're out there (though they're only meant to pay the difference from food costs in Cambridge and most of the time don't even cover that). The downside is that most of the UK's manufacturing is located in various middle-of-nowhere shit-hole locations in the Midlands. And that we basically have full working days plus working time in the evenings, which is knackering.
In terms of going to Aston Martin, I was definitely in one of the better groups on paper. It was also helped by the B&B we were staying at being totally awesome, and run by an exceptionally nice lady who didn't object at all to getting up at 6:30am to cook us breakfast.
The Aston Martin factory in Gaydon is located in a group of really tiny villages with basically fuck-all there. There were at least a handful of pubs to eat at though. Well, we saw three, and one of them wasn't serving food during either of the two attempts we made to eat there. There was one called The Malt Shovel which was awesome though.
After the first day of being surrounded by Aston Martin cars I wanted one so badly. They seemed so awesome, and so incredibly shiny. After a couple of days that wore off though, and when seeing one on the motorway as we drove home I barely batted an eyelid. Except for the One-77, because holy shit those things are ridiculously sexy.
They also cost over a million pounds each and I will almost certainly never own one.
For the factory visit itself, I can't actually say that much because of confidentiality agreements and all that stuff, which is probably a good thing because it'd be boring as hell anyway. I will say though that claims of the Aston Martin Cygnet is related to the Toyota IQ are vast understatements. Also that the factory is ridiculously centred around showing potential customers around it, and they've gone to pretty huge lengths (and sacrificed obvious efficiency) to make certain things easily visible to people wandering around the main walkways. Also they have an absolutely amazing canteen, and I've been anywhere else that even remotely comes close to it.
I didn't so much enjoy coming back straight into a full lecture schedule and a report to write, but the placement itself was pretty fun. The long hours and getting up early were shit, but it was nice to go out for meals at a pub together every night and have a fair bit of socialising. It was good to chat to people who I've not really spoken to that much outside of lectures (except for Emily, because she's at Downing, and Gemma, because I've worked with her in pretty much every MET project we've ever done).
Anyway, back in Cambridge now for email answering and sorting out the DCBC Fresher's Fair at the weekend. The count of sign-ups for the CURMS stall at the fresher's fair apparently wasn't too bad either, despite my being away from Cambridge and totally shambolic organisation with delegating other people to do stuff.