I had a very interesting year, I learnt a lot about the industry which is something we were not told much about at university. I found that a lot of the work I carried out I had never learnt at university, and generally all of the work was on a much larger scale.
I think one of the best things about being a student at Lubrizol is how valued you are by colleagues not just in the department but by all colleages at the site. We were given many opportunities to present work that we had done during our year. I think we were very much treated as members of staff rather than students.
My supervisor was helpful during my year, if I had questions about chemistry, or the experiements or general industry queries then my supervisor was always around to explain it to me. I found this really useful and was helpful to my year. There was some times that my supervisor wasn't around and in which case there was always someone in the office or the lab to help out.
How busy I was was fairly variable. As some weeks I would have lots of work to do and it would be difficult to get it all done in time, and then other weeks I would have little to do and ended up having to find other tasks to do. But in general most of my time was spent in the lab and then I would have time in the office to do paperwork etc
I was given a fair bit of responsibility as I was tasked with ordering my own chemcials and equipment for my experiements and then I was able to run my own experiements with little guidance after the inital training period. I think this was a fair amount of responsibility to be given to a student but it was good to see that we were trusted with these things.
Aside from the basic lab skills that are developed during the year, I think the main thing I have developed during the year is my confidence with my presenting skills. Before starting my placement the idea of standing in front of an audience and speaking for 20+ minutes, filled me with dread but now I am fairly happy to do that. I think time management was also a massive skill that I developed over the year.
In all honesty the office atmosphere was rather poor. I didn't enjoy sitting in the office I was in. It was the office for the students in the department but the other students who were also sitting in the office, didn't like me much so generally used to ignore most questions I asked. However I don't think that is reflective of how it is most years, as generally I think it would be a nice atmosphere I just didn't find it like that on this particular year. Also the main office where the full time members of staff sit is always a friendly atmosphere and they are always helpful in there.
I would say on a whole the work placement is well organised. There is a familisation day before the placement starts which I think was a very nice opportunity to look around site, meet the new students and your supervisor. I also think that the two week handover period with the current students and the new students is a great way to introduce the new students to the job and explain how the processes work at Lubrizol.
There were lots of training sessions available throughout the year that was offered to everyone on site. Also we were given training on how to make an acedemic poster, which I found very useful. There was also lots of opportunites to get involved with STEM events, I took part in some of these events.
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
There are a fair few employees on site that were once placement students at Lubrizol, which is nice as it shows that there is potential to have a future employment prospect. Lubrizol also sponsor some PhD projects, which is usually offered to current students who are considering doing PhDs. However unfortunately Lubrizol doesn't offer Grad Schemes.
There was a good social scene, which I think is the benefit from having almost 30 students all partaking in placements during the same time as me. We tended to all sit together at lunch which was a good opportunitiy to catch up with your fellow students. Living near Derby was also good as there was a fair bit to do in town so we often met up outside of work.
I think the cost of living was fairly low where we lived, it was by far the cheapest house I have rented during my time at University. Socialising costs were fairly standard, but living close to town meant that travel costs to socialise were low, this meant we could go fairly often.
Derby is a University city so it has a variety of places available to go, it has many pubs and a couple of bars. Nottingham has a wider variety of nightlife, with more bars and clubs, and Nottingham is fairly easy to get to. I'm not particularly interested in going to many places but I found there was more than enough to do in Derby.
I think Lubrizol had a very good sports and social club. This meant that there was often emails going around about events that were happening outside of work, like laser quest, go-karting, horse riding, trips to scottish hills and the list goes on. The activities that I went on, I really enjoyed taking part in them.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
10th July 2019