Synthetic Organic Chemistry IP at GSK

Top Employer
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Stevenage East of England
Review Date
£18,000 - £19,999
Chemistry Chemistry

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The Role



The Role

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

I enjoyed having the opportunity to spend the majority of my working day in the lab, doing practical chemistry, as I feel that it was a more engaging and interesting way to learn chemistry, as opposed to lectures. It was stressful at times, because essentially you are treated as a full time employee, which is a big jump up from being a student.


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2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

I felt that my team members valued my contribution to the project, as I was given work to do that contributed to the project as a whole and benefited our objectives. I also felt that they valued me on a personal level, as they made the effort to include me in team social events and chatted to me on a daily basis.


3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

I had weekly meetings with my supervisor to discuss my work and progress and he was always willing to offer guidance with lab and project work, as well as assistance with university work if I needed it. However, I felt at times that there could have been more support when I was struggling to meet certain personal development objectives.


4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

The workload gradually increased throughout the year, as my skills and knowledge improved. At times I felt overwhelmed with the volume of work, but on the whole I felt that I was kept nicely busy and I was never without work to do. When tasks were completed, I could always ask for more work to do. However, I think that the additional pressure of having a 9-5 job and then spending my evenings/weekends doing uni work on top of that made it feel as though I never had any free time.


5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

From my first experiment, I was responsible for synthesising compounds that were important for the team, however I had a higher level of supervision for the first few months whilst I was still being trained up. After that, I felt that I had a high level of responsibility, but I could always ask for assistance if needed.


6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

The experience was invaluable for helping me to develop my lab skills and knowledge of how industrial chemistry works. I learned how to use pieces of equipment and how to set up a wide range of reactions, which will really help me in the future with both university labs and beyond.


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The Organisation

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

It was quite quiet and not a lot of conversation, but this could've been because it wasn't full.


8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

From start to finish there was a lot of structure and I knew what I was trying to achieve. There were clear timepoints which targets had to be achieved by.


9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

There were some specific training courses, but the majority was learning on the job. I had goals for personal development and regularly discussed my progress with my supervisor, although I did feel that I didn't always have much guidance on how to achieve them if I was struggling to do so.


10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Subsidised/Company Gym

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

I am aware of the opportunities available and will consider them in the future, but for now I am not 100 % sure if I would want to go back there as a full time employee.



12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

There were reps who organised events for fellow students, and although there were quite a few at the start, there weren't many towards the end of the year. A lot also revolved around alcohol, which didn't appeal to me as a non-drinker. However, every day the students would all go and have lunch together which was nice, and we also met up outside of work.


13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

Living was quite expensive due to the close proximity to London, but the local shops and restaurants were quite reasonable.


14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

There was 1 night club in the whole town, so not great! Although, you could get the train to London easily if you wanted, but that would be an expensive night out and limited the length of the night because the trains stopped so you couldn't miss the last one.


15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

I joined a local running club, which was a great know to get to know people in the local area. GSK also had various sports activities and a gym so you could do sports with colleagues too.


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