1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my placement. As expected, the work (chemical research) was very relevant to my degree (chemistry). The atmosphere in the office was fantastic; people were polite, positive and enthusiastic about their work. Having other students on the same placement was great as I knew we were all in the same position and were able to help each other. Many social events were organized, which helped me to get to know others that worked at the site of my placement.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
I felt very valued; I was treated as a full-time employee and not a temporary student. My opinions and ideas were always considered. I was able to try out any of my ideas in the laboratory in attempt to aid my designated project. I felt that I was an integral member of the research team.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Support and guidance were always available if required. However, I was expected to work independently after initially being shown what to do, just like all the other full-time colleagues. I am sure that this will help me in the future, both in my final year at university and throughout my career.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
There was always work to do, which is the nature of research. I was regularly encouraged to push myself and achieve more, but the expectations were always realistic. I was able to do university work during my lunch breaks, which allowed me to have free time in the evenings after work.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
For a student, the responsibility was relatively high – I was expected to independently obtain results for the research team, although guidance was provided if necessary. I was an integral member of the team. Lubrizol relied on my work, particularly laboratory work, to help the team and, in turn, the business progress.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
The placement helped me to progress a range of skills (e.g. lab, organizational and team-working skills) that will be useful during my final year at university and throughout my career. Spending a high percentage of my time in the laboratory helped me to significantly improve my general laboratory skills, which I am sure will be extremely valuable if I am to pursue a career in chemical research.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
Fantastic – people were polite, positive and enthusiastic about their work.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
I was very happy with how organized the placement was. Planning was done prior to my arrival so on my first week I was told all about role/project. The core of the project was well planned. It was clear that Lubrizol have been doing 12-month student placements for a while!
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
There was not a great deal of training for the long-term (understandable seeing as I was only on a 12-month placement). I developed a lot by listening to and observing other colleagues that had more experience than me. Various eLearning tasks were compulsory, many were with regards to laboratory safety.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
The future employment prospects with Lubrizol are very promising – many ex-students have been employed full-time at the company after they have completed their degree. The placement helped me to progress a range of skills (e.g. lab, organizational and team-working skills) that will impress future potential employers including, of course, Lubrizol.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes. Many social events were organized, which helped me to get to know my fellow colleagues.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
I commuted to work from home so did not have to look at accommodation. Other students on my placement did, however, move to Manchester - from what they told me, the accommodation in Manchester is relatively expensive. Other than accommodation, the surrounding area was relatively cheap (e.g. in corner shops, supermarkets and pubs). However, many organized social events were based in the center of Manchester, which is relatively expensive.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife in Manchester is great! The center of Manchester is approx. 20 minutes away where I was based.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Yes. Many events were organized for after work - everyone was welcome.