This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.
The whole experience was very enjoyable. The working environment was very good. The way everything was handled throughout made the whole placement feel like it was teaching me something new without too much pressure being applied. The research itself was all very interesting and allowed me to apply my theoretical knowledge to actual experiments, helping me get a feel for the things I had learnt at university. The mixture of lab work to office work was also very good in that it always kept you occupied and interested.
I feel like my colleagues in general saw the value in my work. I would be trusted to make samples that were destined for customers, work on projects that hadn't been thoroughly investigated yet and provide my results to the team who trusted the work I had done. I was also praised when doing presentations of my work to my colleagues for giving clear and easy to follow presentations. This allowed me to realize that my colleagues were willing to tell me I was valued and praise me when I did well. When offering my ideas on where a project should go next they would willingly engage with me in an intellectual conversation and not disregard my ideas before giving them a chance which made me feel valued.
The support and guidance was non-stop throughout the placement. Whenever I needed help with any aspect of my work, my supervisors would help me to solve the problems. In the beginning of the placement if I had any questions they would never hesitate to help me and would not make me feel like I was not valued. When it came to the report phase they gave me a lot of guidance on how to start off with the structure and then helped by proof reading my drafts and giving constructive feedback. This also happened when I was giving presentations as my supervisors helped me with realizing different audiences and what those audiences are looking for in a presentation.
The workload at this placement was very good. I was never too stressed about the work that I had to do for the company but it also always kept me occupied so that I did not get bored. For example the workload was eased off when my report was nearly due in order to allow me enough time to complete it and fully check it during work hours due to confidentiality. Also whenever I had completed a set of work I was able to go and start something on my own in order to use the time efficiently. A small amount of pressure was constantly applied during work but it was the right amount to keep me motivated and carry on working hard.
I was allowed at all times to work on my project without over the shoulder supervision. Once the original training was completed I was trusted with all the responsibilities. These included safety of the procedure and finding out about new chemicals dangers if they were being used. I was trusted with collecting all the data for my products and relaying that onto higher management within meetings. I was also given the responsibility to make products that would be directly sent to customers for testing which is a large responsibility, involving engaging with many different staff members to organize the deliveries successfully.
The skills learnt are invaluable to all my future work. Firstly, degree studies will be helped as I will have performed practically what I will be taught theoretically in the course. The ability to spot trends more readily will be increased due to practicing in real life situations. My confidence within a lab situation has increased and I will be able to perform experiments more efficiently. The practice obtained from completing a report on my placement will be very useful in helping me in my research project at university next year. Beyond that, I now have a lot of experience in synthesis of polymers and large scale synthesis which can be applied to many industries within the chemical world. The skills I have developed such as presentation skills and teamwork have helped me become a stronger chemist all around.
There is always someone happily whistling and it was always easy to engage in conversation with everyone throughout the day. The majority of the staff got along very well and always made everyone feel involved. There were some very good characters who always cheered everyone up and made people laugh in the office, keeping people's morale high. When it got down to being serious everyone could do so. If something happened people would always be there to help. A relaxed and welcoming environment was the feeling that I always got whilst working at Lubrizol.
Organisation was very good throughout the placement on the Lubrizol side of proceedings. When we arrived, everything was ready for us and all the training had been pre planned to help us out when we had just started. The students from the previous year had an overlapping week with us so that we could ask any questions and they could teach us all the main aspects of the lab from the perspective of someone who had already done their placement here. The paperwork needed from the company was all very quickly completed and returned. Projects changed throughout the year but they always made sure that we had the new ones explained to us so that we knew where we were going with them. Around the placement visit time, small meetings were set up to discuss my progress coming up to the date and then all the rooms were booked and ready for when the university supervisor arrived.
Firstly I was put into 4-5 training and development courses, all of which were there to help with my safety. A day was organized in which the students were invited where we were able to talk to people in the company about their job roles and how they got where they were. This was something to allow us to get more of an idea of the company and more of an idea as to what we could do with out careers in the future. All the equipment we used in the lab such as lab coats, goggles, boots were all provided. They also more importantly invested many different resources that were needed in research as I was trusted with a project that had clear targets that were to be met.
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
I would be very interesting in a job with this company in the future. The work being done is all interesting and the people are very easy to get along with. The organization itself seems very well run and it would be good to work with them in many of the different areas of the world that they are placed. The work environment does not annoy me or cause me to be too stressed so I feel I will be able to do a good job whilst living a happy life if I joined this organization.
The three placement students were all immediately introduced and from that we all now get along very well and do things such as meals and days out away from work. Every month or two the entire research team will go out for a meal together which is very sociable and enjoyable to be a part of as most of the team will always show up. Also some of the younger work colleagues socialize very well with the placement students and will do things with us outside the workplace.
The cost of living was higher in the area I was living than where I attended university but in contrast to places like London it was ok. It was also slightly on the pricey side if you wanted to go to the cinema or bowling as would be expected from a large city such as Manchester. However overall if you went to the right places you could live on a low budget completely fine and could choose to go to higher budget places on your own account.
Being a very large city the nightlife in the area was very good. There was a lot of choice from rock nights to indie, pop, RnB and house nights in clubs. If you wanted to visit bars, the range is unbelievable, from a wetherspoons on every corner to high class cocktail bars, whiskey bars and beer houses. Everything that can be thought of is available in the case of bars in Manchester even ranging to new era bars such as ping pong bars etc. It is also a popular destinations for gigs to occur and so you have a large amount of choices in that area.
I joined a 5-a-side friendly football game as part of the tower that we worked in which played every Thursday which allowed me to meet some of the colleagues in other companies and play the game whilst I was away from university. There are a large selection of gyms in the area and many different activities at sports centres that I could have joined. There were also a large amount of pub quizzes that were good. Overall I could have probably joined a very large amount of activities if I had the time and wanted to.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
17th June 2016