As part of the New Deal programme, I was referred to Hull College to be assigned a work experience placement. As some companies had been discouraged by my lack of experience (believing one should only start to work in their sector if one has already been working in it for at least two years), the intention of the placement was to give me a better chance of finding permanent work. I would not be paid by the company with which I worked, but I would continue to receive Jobseeker's Allowance and, subject to me returning a completed timesheet to the College every week, would have my travel expenses repaid. Finally, I would meet my contact at the College for regular progress reviews.
I was first referred to the College before I started the temporary work with Tramco in April 2002. When that job ended, I returned to New Deal and therefore to the College. My contact at the College suggested I get a work experience placement with Tramco; this was agreed by both me and the company. After attending the induction at the College on 20 May 2002, I started work the next day.
Most of the time, I used AutoCAD LT to produce and update engineering drawings. The title block was held in its own file; when a new drawing was needed, this file was saved under a different name (effectively copying it) and the drawing was added.
Another of my duties was to operate a computer which sends instructions to a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. The machine cut out parts by burning lines in a metal plate, and was operated by another person. The computer I operated arranged the parts on the plates. Each part was saved in its own file, and was checked for any gaps in the lines. The computer then had to be given the quantity, material and thickness of each part. All the parts belonging to the same section of a conveyor were nested together; this ensured, as far as part sizes allow, that parts of the same material and thickness were cut from the same plate. Parts of different materials and thicknesses could be nested together, as they would be assigned different plates.
I spent one afternoon in the factory, using nuts, bolts and washers to join metal plates to plastic things; these sub-assemblies were to form parts of a conveyor chain.
There were, occasionally, times when I had no work to do. At first, I passed the spare time by playing computer games (who wouldn't?). Later, however, I offered to help the Secretary with her work; this mainly involved me sorting and filing invoices.
The placement ended on 16 August 2002.
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