Running different types of tests to assess the different properties of an oil.
I had a very enjoyable time working at Lubrizol, everyone was very friendly and more than happy to help out when needed. It was a great environment to work in and I had many opportunities to develop my personal qualities, and experience what a work place is really like. The skills that I have learnt during my placement are ones which I will hopefully be able to use in future careers and apply to new situations.
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I was welcomed into the team from day one, and made to feel very comfortable. I was given an equal amount of responsibility compared to the full time staff and treated like one too. My colleagues would always help me out in situations if I needed them too, and would also ask me for help if they needed a hand with anything. I was left in charge of many tests on my own, and had to manage them by myself. However the support from the rest of the team was there if it was ever required.
I had weekly meetings with my supervisor to check what progress I had made on my personal skills and if I was controlling my workload efficiently. If I ever had any problems then my supervisor would always be there to help me through them or discuss them with me. My manager’s door was always open for me to pop in and ask him anything, and was always willing to help out where he could.
I was kept very busy throughout my year with completing standard testing and then progressing with project work as well. Due to a period of staff shortages within the department, work was spread across less people which made the days even busier. However, it meant that there was always something to do, and kept me busy.
I was given a huge amount of responsibility during my placement, equal to that of the full time members of staff. I was trusted with all the equipment and left to run all the tests that I was trained on by myself. My supervisor was there to support me if I needed it, but apart from that, I had all the responsibility myself.
I developed many of my skills whilst being on placement, including communication, team work, organisation, time management skills, presenting and problem solving. My presenting skills will help with both the rest of my degree and future working life. During my placement, I had the opportunity to be a part of the poster presentations that happen at Lubrizol’s innovation symposium every year. This was a brilliant event and I gained some invaluable experience from this. I also worked across 3 different labs, which helped me improve my communication skills to a large variation of people as well as my organisation and team work. I had to plan my weeks out so I knew which lab I needed to help in and when. I also had the chance to complete some project work, of which I had to overcome many problems, and work through it individually. This helped me to think through problems and solve it on my own.
The office was very large, and generally quiet and relaxing most the time, so that people could do their work. However, there was also plenty of times when it was chatty and everyone could have a good laugh together. It was a great balance and had a brilliant atmosphere.
The work placement was very well organised, and with there being over 20 students on site across the different departments for the year, they hold a familiarisation day before you start the placement so that everyone can meet each other before hand. Once I started, generally it was organised. Sometimes the plans would change, and you would have to back track, however this was usually due to a changing of circumstances, which would be expected in a normal business environment. Overall, I was very happy with how it was organised and set up.
The company invested a lot into me. They spent as long as I needed to train me up on the different tests that I would be running, and also showed me how the business works. When you initially start, you get a full tour of all the departments, and get to follow the process as to how things move around site. This gave a large amount of background knowledge to help settle me into the placement. They also spent time with me on improving my presentation skills and helping me to become more organised.
They have a tendency to recruit students that have carried out placements with them in the past for up and coming roles. Whilst I was on my placement, 2 students who did their placements at Lubrizol before me returned to work for Lubrizol once again. If you have a good placement year with them, then there is a high chance that you may be asked back to the company in the future if they have positions to fill.
There is a sports and social club within Lubrizol which hold events regularly, i.e. ten-pin bowling, munro bagging, go-karting, go ape, trips to various parts of the country etc. These are usually well attended by not only the student group, but full time members too. This was a great way to meet new people from across the company and have a good laugh, all whilst paying subsidised prices! All the students tended to live in the same area too, so on an evening there would often be trips out to the cinema or for food as well.
The cost of living was really cheap, and very affordable, especially since I was earning as well. The city wasn’t that brilliant and there wasn’t a great deal to do, but we always managed to find things to do to entertain ourselves.
The nightlife was okay and there were quite a few places to go. However, Nottingham was fairly close and they had buses that did late returns to Derby, and so this was quite a popular option instead of going out in Derby, as it didn’t cost too much either. Plus if you were travelling in a group it was even cheaper.
Yes, there were badminton, climbing and football sessions that were attended by a fair few of the students, as well as our department doing a monthly trip to Bingo. Many people joined a gym together or would go running together around the local parks. If people had a sport that they were interested in then there was always the option of local clubs holding those sports as well.