Chemical synthesis of lubricant additives on a 1-5L scale
1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
I really enjoyed my placement year at Lubrizol. I found the research interesting and relevant to my degree. My project was appropriate for my final masters year and the support and skills developed while on placement enabled me to obtain a first for my final year marks. I also had the opportunity to develop skills non-academically through volunteering and getting involved in social activities such as badminton.
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Component Science were very welcoming and supportive during my placement year. Regularly presenting to colleagues in my department and other technical departments added more value to the research I was doing. We were also recognised for our achievements and positive impact throughout the year.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
My supervisor was always happy to help with any questions I had (no matter how silly and small they were!) He provided feedback throughout the year with my university work, giving valuable advice on my literature review, research report and presentations. In general, everyone in Component Science was supportive and were always on hand to help me too.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
I was busy for most of my time at work and my day would consist of working in the lab, attending meetings or getting involved in other activities such as volunteering. It was sometimes difficult to juggle everything but I developed time management skills from this.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
I was given the responsibility to guide and carry out my own research project. As my experience and confidence increased, I was able to take the lead of my project more and make decisions. I had the responsibility to plan my time and make sure I met deadlines.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
My placement has increased my confidence massively in laboratory work and carrying out research. Being able to do this in an industrial environment has hugely prepared me for employment after university as I have worked in a research group to carry out projects as a team. Also, being able to learn about a small subject in a lot of detail helped me with some of the topics I needed to study for my exams.
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The office environment was quite relaxed, we would often have tea/coffee together during breaks. It was generally pretty quiet enabling you to get work done effectively. We had our own desk space with desktop computer and stationary provided by the company. The office layout could be improved as more space, for example when people were visiting, would have been useful!
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The recruitment and induction into the company was very well organised - I liked that the recruitment was very early on in the year and we had the opportunity to meet fellow students well before we started placement. I had a clear project when I started and sufficient work to use for my masters project.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
We had the opportunity to volunteer in various projects and be a part of different committees in the company e.g. social committee or environmental committee. I got involved in volunteering for a STEM event which helped to develop my knowledge of the industry. I feel that the company could improve the opportunities to develop transferable skills such as presentation/speaking skills and using software such as word/ excel for report writing and data analysis.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Sports and Social Club
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
I am not fully aware of all of the opportunities that are available at Lubrizol. Apart from the change in students every year, there didn't seem to be many opportunities for employment, especially for graduates straight out of university without PhDs in technical roles.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
The social committee organised a whole range of activities throughout the year that all colleagues could get involved in - I attended badminton sessions often and trips to laser quest and Alton Towers. Students would often sit together at lunch and there would be regular pub trips on Fridays after work.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living and socialising was pretty low in Derby, but the low cost was reflected on the quality of houses and the general area!
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
The nightlife was ok, there are quite a few bars in Derby with some independent ones that were very nice! You would have to go elsewhere for clubbing to Nottingham.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
Loads of opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work such as volunteering for STEM activities with schools and careers days. The sports and social committee organised a huge range of trips throughout the year such as go karting, ice skating and to theme parks. Lubrizol Run also encouraged you to keep fit during the year.