Component Science Synthetic Placement Student at Lubrizol

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Placement Year (10 Months+)
Review Date
Chemistry Science/Research

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The Role
The Company
The Culture

Role Description

Designing and synthesising fuel additive chemistries

The Role

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

I thoroughly enjoyed my placement. I gained really good practical experience across a wide range of equipment including much larger scale kit than I had ever used at university. I also learned a lot about working in industry. My department and business segment, and the wider student cohort were all really friendly.
5 /5

2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

I was always made aware of the impact my work had on the bigger picture of the group, and everyone was more than happy to explain in further detail anything I didn't understand. I always felt the work I was given was necessary and important to my business segment, it never felt like they were giving the student the easier/dead-end work. I became really friendly with my colleagues in the lab which made the year particularly enjoyable.
5 /5

3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

My supervisor was always there to help me when I needed it, but he also let me tasked responsibility for the progression of work and how I managed my workload to fit experiments and report/presentation writing around meetings etc. Where I was able to, my input and suggestions were always welcome and acted on. He was very knowledgeable and happy to pass on his experience in organic synthesis and the fuels additives industry.
5 /5

4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

Most days I spent predominately in the lab. The workload was always manageable, and included synthetic work as well as writing up my experiments and preparing presentations to update the component science department or business group of our progress and results. There was a good balance of lab and office work.
4 /5

5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

I was responsible for carrying out my experiments and organising my workload to fit around office work and meetings. I also purchased chemicals and equipment (below a certain threshold where they had to be approved by someone more senior) and writing up COSHH reports prior to lab work. I enjoyed the amount of responsibility I had in helping impact the course of the projects I was part of.
4 /5

6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

I developed my synthetic skills massively during my time at Lubrizol. I was still leaning how to use new pieces of kit right up to the end of my time as the projects I was working on developed and so the equipment we were using changed. I also gained practice and experience presenting to a wide variety of technical and non-technical audiences about my work through presentations or poster format and general discussions. I also learned how to structure my day and experiments to meet deadlines and still get to any meetings I was supposed to attend!
5 /5

The Company

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

Very friendly. I was working in an office with other students so we had quite a lot in common. We also interacted with the full-timers in the lab and in their office during tea break and department meetings. Everyone is really approachable and always happy to help if you need it.
5 /5

8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

Application process was clear and quick. The visit day was a great opportunity to visit the site and learn more about the position and the company before applying. It was really useful to talk to the current students about their experience and ask them and other members of the department lots of questions. There is a two week handover period with the outgoing students which is intense but really useful to get a chance to shadow someone who's been in the role for a year.
5 /5

9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

I attended a session learning how to create an effective academic poster, and give a short presentation on it. I also improved my presentation and scientific report writing skills throughout the year, and of course gained a great deal of synthetic lab experience using a wide variety of equipment and chemistries. We also received safety training and all of the company-wide training modules.
4 /5

10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Flexi Time
  • Subsidised Canteen
  • Sports and Social Club
  • Financial Bonus
  • Company Parties/Events
  • Above 25 days holiday
4 /5

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

There are quite a very staff on site who were previously placement year students, but employment is obviously based on there being a vacancy in the department you are interested in. Lubrizol also sponsors PHD projects at lots of universities which is an alternative way to stay in touch. If the opportunity arose when I have completed all of my studies I would love to come back and work into the department
4 /5

The Culture

12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

There were just under 30 students in my 'year group' and most of us lived together in smaller groups so socialising was pretty easy. We often met up at the weekends and evenings. We ate lunch with the other students and/or members of our departments depending on who was available for lunch at the same time on any given day.
4 /5

13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

Living costs are fairly cheap. The student accommodation available to rent was pretty nice and as much as half the price of university halls or rentable housing further south! The cost of socialising in Derby and Nottingham is about the same of any other university city, although for Notts you've also got the train fare.
4 /5

14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

Pretty good in Derby and Nottingham as both are student cities. Nottingham is a train ride away, and depending on how far away from Derby station might also require a taxi home (or staying on a friends sofa) as its quite a hike if you live on the opposite side of the city.
4 /5

15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

The Sports and Social club was really cheap to join and organised subsidised trips for activities such as go-karting, laser quest, go ape, coach trips to cities and events for families too. There are two student positions on the committee so you can also take the opportunity to organise trips of your choosing that suit.
5 /5