Last year we welcomed Summer Internship Students from top universities across the UK into our Cumbria Team. As always, they brought fresh ideas and their work was pivotal to the success of our projects. To find out what life was like as an Intern at Createc, we interviewed Chloe. This is what she had to tell us about her experience:
Tell me about a bit about yourself?
My name is Chloe, I’m studying Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of York and I’ve just finished a three-month summer internship at Createc, in between my first and second years.
How did you hear about Createc?
I first found out about Createc through their sister company, React Engineering. React sponsor a STEM award in Cumbria, which I was lucky enough to win in 2018. After understanding my interests, they suggested a summer internship and put me in touch with Dave Clark at Createc.
What did you work on during your time with Createc?
When I first learned I had an internship, I was a bit nervous that I would just
be making coffee, but at Createc I felt like an employee, not an intern. As soon as I started, I was given an interesting project to get my teeth into.
My project was developing virtual reality software for Createc’s N-Visage® Fusion product. The VR environment can help people who are working in hazardous areas to understand the optimum way to move through the area. The system I developed allows people to go into the environment virtually and see the radiation and hazards around them. This makes nuclear decommissioning operations both faster and safer.
The team had already mapped out the social system and all the requirements before I arrived, they wanted me to work on the VR side of it. It was my task to come up with a minimum viable product during my 12 weeks. Having one focus made it fun and I felt like I’d really achieved something.
What did you learn working for Createc?
I learnt a lot! Every morning we had stand-ups where everyone got a chance to talk about what they were doing. You end up absorbing a lot of information about everyone else’s projects this way. In terms of technical skills, I’d never used the Unreal Engine before – I’d used Visual Basic, Python and Java during my course at university, but I had to learn to use C++ because that’s what the robotics and Unreal Engine use. There is a lot of self-learning involved, but at the same time everyone was always approachable and helpful if I had questions or concerns.
What was the biggest challenge?
I had to get used to the idea that if you don’t know something, it’s not necessarily the case that someone else knows either. I learnt that I had to figure out the answers because it was my responsibility to complete the project – everyone at Createc is a real problem solver. The exciting thing is it’s not just research for the sake of research like it sometimes is at University. There is a real-world problem and it matters that we solve it for people.
What was your highlight of the experience?
The highlight for me was being immersed in the unique culture at Createc. Please are genuinely as interested in you as you are in them. Information sharing is encouraged and there’s a huge opportunity to learn from everyone. I saw everyone’s projects move along and evolve over the twelve weeks and I think just being alongside such a bright group of people was a huge highlight for me. It was great to be able to absorb even a small part of other peoples’ knowledge and expertise.
You mentioned the office culture – can you describe it for me?
The work is always challenging, but it feels comfortable to be an intern at Createc – it’s easy to fit in because everyone gets on so well on a personal level. They’ve also had interns for years, so people understand why you’re there and do what is best for you. People are happy to help, and they want you to do well – there’s a good combination of letting you have autonomy to solve problems on your own, but also offering support and guidance.
Would you recommend Createc to someone considering joining?
I would say, do it! It’s been a great experience. I think for me, it’s set an exceptionally high standard for what I expect working life to be like. I looked forward to going to work, I enjoyed it whilst I was there and I was always doing something that was useful and worthwhile.