1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I thoroughly enjoyed my internship with CRUK. I loved how it was open to both undergraduates and graduates. After graduating, I found it difficult to get my foot in the door with most "entry-level" research jobs. Working at CRUK-TDL gave me the chance to develop skills and mentally challenge myself and develop many different skills that have enabled me to pursue a career in science.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Throughout my time here, I felt like a valued member of the research team. I did objectives and personal development plans with my line manager; attended team meetings which gave me insight into the other various projects within our department and was treated very warmly with all the staff at CRUK-TDL.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
I was given plenty of support and guidance from my line manager - even before I started my internship! She was very helpful and informative - she organised my occupational health paperwork prior to my internship; informed me of accommodation options in Cambridge once I found out I had gotten it. Throughout my internship she has helped me through the theory and technical aspects of what we do in the lab, but has also given me a sense of independence and autonomy throughout my internship and the project we worked on.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
In the first week, it seemed a bit dull because of the general admin work that needed to be done (i.e. risk assessments, etc.). However in this time I was also able to read up on the basic biological concepts, which enabled me to understand the work I would be undertaking throughout this internship. After the first week, I was in the laboratory and was fairly busy (and I liked it). Towards the end, I spent less time in the lab, but was kept on my feet with all the paperwork and write-ups and presentation preparation. I always had something to do in this internship - which is what made it very worthwhile!
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I feel like I was given a good amount of responsibility throughout my internship. After being taught the theoretical concepts and how to do basic lab techniques, I think I was given a reasonable amount of responsibility after getting to grips with the basic protocols. My line manager did not have to supervisor for the whole duration (which gave me a sense of responsibility) and she also allowed to analyse our results and enabled me to do research which would drive our project forward.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
So during my internship I learnt a handful of practical techniques that will definitely be useful for pursuing a career in scientific research.
Through this internship, I have gained a better understanding into the difference of working in academia and in the industry (which is something I will be considering over the next few years).
But as well as working on my own project and working within a specific team, I was able to shadow people from other departments, which also gave me a greater insight into the drug discovery side of CRUK.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
During my internship, I had to hot-desk as there weren't any spare desks for the whole summer. Having said that I found this to be quite nice during my time as I got to sit in many different offices and get to meet a variety of different people from the different teams. In all offices it was a balance between working hard and taking chilled breaks with biscuits and tea - which made the days go fast very quickly.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
Personally I think my internship was very well set up after I had learnt I had got it. My line manager was very organised and helped me with accommodation and other admin/health and safety stuff before I even arrived. Once I started, I got a good idea of what I would be doing throughout my internship and had a goal to work towards.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
CRUK had a lot of professional development days lined up in the interns' calenders. I think it was great they had this - but sometimes I feel it was too office-based/office-focused. It was also not worthwhile venturing to Angel for the a short session (as it would not have been worth the time or the train ticket).
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
It's very appealing to work for CRUK-TDL again after my PhD. Though I would still need to figure out if I would go into academia or the industry and what exact direction I would take.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes. There were 5 other interns at the Cambridge branch and some placement students. We also had restaurant club once a month with everyone at work - which was nice as you got to hang out with other colleagues and try out the different restaurants round Cambridge.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living was similar to that of London. As for socialising - it depends where you go.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Basically non-existent during the summer as there were not many students around and the nightclubs weren't the best.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
There were seminars that occured outside of work. There was bootcamp before and after work and yoga during lunch. There are things to do, but unfortunately I was preoccupied with my placement and other commitments that I never had time to join them.