Member of the Applied and Strategic Research department, working to develop new products and respond to customer queries.
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Would highly recommend, really enjoyed the experience of working for Lubrizol. I loved the working environment, my colleagues and the varied day-to-day activities. I felt like Lubrizol really values students on placement and wants them to succeed, so it’s a positive environment to work in, plus the site is lovely!
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Everyone values your opinion as though you are a full time employee, and you’re given almost as many opportunities to develop your professional skills eg. Presenting and contributing to meetings, as a permanent employee. I really felt like a valued member of the department and was welcomed very warmly when I started, making it easy to fit in.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Day to day tasks and activities were well planned by my supervisor, but I still had a degree of autonomy when organising my day and my calendar. When it came to writing reports I was given support eg proofreading by not only my supervisor but also other staff within the department who were a great help.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I would average around 70% of my time in the lab although every day was different, with a mixture of meetings, labs and office work. I had the control over my own calendar so to some extent I could determine how busy I was by planning how much I could fit into a day, unless a tight deadline had to be met. I was always pretty busy with multiple projects on the go at once but Lubrizol encourages work-life balance and therefore regular breaks are advocated.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was part of a small team in my department area meaning that a lot of the R&D lab work was my responsibility. I didn’t have much say in the direction that the lab work took or much of an opportunity to report out my results, this was done by my supervisor. This was sometimes a little disappointing as other students within the department had this opportunity.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I feel so much more confident in my report writing, communication/presentation and independent lab working skills after having worked at Lubrizol. It has convinced me to want to do a PhD and also has given me the drive to want to work in industry later on in life after uni.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
My office was quiet but nice, only me and my supervisor. We got on well and it was a nice relaxed atmosphere to have a chat but also quiet to get on with work. The department has a really relaxed environment with multiple offices close together and I would always be in and out of other offices for a chat or a coffee break or to ask questions. Everyone is genuinely so friendly.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Lubrizol were keen to develop skills such as presenting, through being asked to present to 40 colleagues at a technical talk, designing a poster for the annual company conference and presenting this to senior members of staff and also contributing to regular meetings. We had a poster training session where we learnt how to properly design a scientific poster. We also had more corporate level training on company culture. Some of the wider training opportunities weren’t available to students. In terms of lab training, students were given the same level of training and responsibility as regular members of staff
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
Above 25 days holiday
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
There is not an official graduate scheme at Lubrizol which is disappointing, however at the Hazelwood site over 10% of the workforce are ex-placement students so that is reassuring for future employment prospects at the company. I would definitely consider applying for a job with Lubrizol after my degree or PhD
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Very good, the department got on really well together and had quite a young average age so it was easy for students to integrate and organise social events. There was also a Christmas meal for the department and various social events through the year. We were members of the sports and social club and went on a Munro Bagging trip to Scotland with colleagues as well as tried new things such as horse riding.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
Our house was in Derby and was £100 a week with bills and an ensuite. This was around average compared to the other students - although you could get cheaper if needed, however they weren’t as nice. Derby itself was average price for socialising/pubs/restaurants, with some nice areas in the city centre and also good village pubs on the outskirts
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
Some nice bars in Derby city centre, not much else in terms of clubs other than a couple. Nottingham is a better place to go in search of nightlife. Derby is good for pubs and the Peak District is good for country pubs. Working full time doesn’t really leave you with enough time to properly experience night life anyway so doesn’t present much of an issue.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
The sports and social club ran many events through the year and I was a member of the lubrizol badminton club after work too. In terms of other involvement while at work you could become a STEM ambassador and attend STEM events to represent the company at local schools and colleges.