Overall, I had an excellent experience at Lubrizol, the work that I was given was engaging and kept me highly motivated, the staff were friendly and welcoming, and the site facilities were particularly good. I felt that I was able to achieve a lot, and it is thanks to the good office atmosphere and company culture that provided me with a good environment to really extract the most out of my placement year. I was given plenty of encouragement and great opportunities for professional development, and so I can highly recommend Lubrizol as a great company to take your placement year with.
The department has a good work culture and so praise is often given when members of the team are deserving of it. This combined with the regular opportunities to give presentations about ongoing projects, leads to many chances to get feedback and comments from the rest of the team. As the level of responsibility that I was given was quite high, this also contributed to making me feel like the work that I was doing had value and was benefitting the company.
The support was excellent, particularly at the beginning of the placement during the handover phase with the previous placement student. All members of the department had an open-door policy and I always felt that I could pop into their office or send an e-mail or message if I had any questions. It was also common to book in meetings to discuss concepts, business insights or technical questions which would take more than ten minutes to discuss. I was made to feel comfortable with asking for support when I needed it and was regularly giving updates on the progress of my projects, I feel that this struck a very good balance for support and guidance.
My workload ramped up at a steady pace until I reached a point where I was comfortable during the first quarter of the placement. As with any job, the workload can vary, and some days and weeks were busier than others. I always felt that the workload was manageable, and that I had plenty of support that I could use if I was ever struggling to manage the workload, or needed advice on what to prioritise at any one time. The overall experience was positive and helped push me just enough to encourage me to improve my own time management and organisation skills over the course of the placement.
I was given a remarkably similar level of responsibility to the other members of the department; I was able to take ownership of my work projects and had a significant amount of input into the development of my projects. This made me feel like the work I was doing every day had value to the business and made me feel extremely motivated and invested in the project work that I was given. This exceeded my expectations as in prior work experience, I had done a lot more shadowing and smaller project work, whereas here I was able to undertake more significant work.
The office atmosphere was overall very laid back and had a sense of light-heartedness that permeated the whole team. It felt like a good balance between getting work done and socialising in the office had been achieved, and so slotting into that dynamic was a pleasant experience. Department management were very transparent and approachable, and there was a good sense of equality and inclusiveness in the team. There were also a good number of lunchtime activities going on amongst different groups in the team, giving plenty of additional opportunities to socialise with colleagues over lunch.
The placement was well organised, but also very flexible to the needs of the student and the current work which was going on at the time. I felt like my learning style and technical abilities were accommodated for at the beginning of the placement, and the initial handover and ramp-up were handled very well to allow me to extract the most out of my first couple of months with the company. After that, projects and the updates were scheduled regularly, and were organised quite well. The team are also constantly looking to improve the work experience and onboarding process, which is good to see.
I was given access to online courses through the company subscription, I was able to make a lot of use out of this particularly at the beginning of the placement, and it remained a valuable tool for ongoing professional development during the placement. Several books were also available on office bookshelves which proved useful for my development, or for reference. I felt that my training needs were well accommodated for, and that I had the opportunity to learn new concepts so that my development over the course of the placement never got stagnant.
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
Given the size of the team at Hazelwood in the UK, new jobs are not posted ever so regularly. This makes future employment prospects less likely to come up at an opportune time. Support is widely available to allow previous placement students to stay in contact and get job alerts through their recruitment website or connecting with and following the company on LinkedIn. Overall, job opportunities are well communicated when they become available, however may be limited in number.
A number of students from other departments may either be sharing a house together or have come from the same university, and so seemed well acquainted and engaged in activities outside of work. Overall, there seemed to be a decent sense of community amongst the students, which was more common in the departments which have larger numbers of placement students.
I have lived in the area for many years, and the cost of living and socialising are average overall.
If you are content with a quieter nightlife and some variety of restaurants and shopping, then Derby is a perfectly fine place to live and work. If you prefer a more active nightlife scene and even more variety, the city of Nottingham is a short journey away and often comes more highly recommended, particularly amongst the student population.
The company has a sports and social club, which regularly advertises events outside of work for any employees to engage with, including the placement students. These are communicated by posters and e-mail. The prices for these seemed reasonable and so did the variety. Events occurred regularly, at least once per month, with additional events like charity runs advertised in communal areas. There were also occasional opportunities to go out eating and drinking when welcoming colleagues from overseas who are visiting site.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
4th August 2020