I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year working for Church and Dwight UK Ltd; so much so that after my time working for them was coming to a close, I had my contract extended so that I could stay a little longer! The people and the work come together to provide both a comfortable and challenging environment which has allowed me to gain great experience working in the Quality control and FMCG industry while also making some life-long friends.
Working as a Quality Control Intern at Church and Dwight UK Ltd did not feel like an internship at all. When working with them you are treated with the same respect and responsibility as any one of your peers. When working for Church and Dwight UK Ltd, no matter your position, you are part of the team. Those that you being the year working with as colleagues soon become friends and eventually family. For me, my teams mates highly valued my input in decision making and stressed at the end of my internship how much of a difference I had made to them and the company.
The management at Church and Dwight UK Ltd are good at remaining a safe distance from you as an intern. They allow space for one to take on their own responsibly and decision making while staying within good reach to ask for support. They often met with me to review my work, ensuring that I was coping well with the job and if I had any complaints with my situation. The managers also supported me outside of work by engaging with my interests and securing my involvement in company events: Christmas dinners, Days out etc.
Throughout the year how busy the lab where I was working could get would change depending on customer demand. Working with the team in the lab meant that the work became perfectly balanced so that when one was getting swamped under with testing another can step in to support them. On a daily basis you can always find something to test, adapt, or set in order. For me my time was balanced between supporting the QC staff, working in Microbiology and conducting my own project.
At Church and Dwight UK Ltd you are given full responsibility of the testing you perform and projects you are given. The training that the managers gave me at the start of the year allowed me to show more appreciation for the work we were carrying out. The more that I got involved and the more appreciation I demonstrate, the more responsibility I was given. They allowed me to conduct my own project, speak on behalf of the department in team meetings and converse with Church and Dwight working partners on behalf of the company.
Working as a Quality Control Chemist for Church and Dwight UK Ltd allowed me to develop my analytical skills previously introduced at university. My time at the company was split between the QC lab and the Microbiology laboratories. Because of this I was exposed to both analytical techniques such as spectroscopy and Complex titrations (two skills valued in the industry), as well as biological based skills: Cell culture and Celsis. The combination of these skills will open up future opportunities that I would not have had if not for Church and Dwight UK Ltd.
The department would often have a bustling atmosphere similar to that of a busy kitchen. Each individual would be working on their own testing whilst at the same time supporting their peers by co-checking their work. Throughout the day we would listen to the radio which would provide a good background to work along to. Even when the day would get busier and more stressful, it never became out of control because everyone would pull their own weight and pull through.
The work placement is organised to have a fluid structure so that the intern can change between microbiology and quality control easily. Towards the beginning of the year I was position with microbiology to aid them whilst some of their staff were away from work. This acted as a well planned introduction because I was already familiar with the working of a biolab due to my course but could also help them being short staffed.
The company provided me with several train and personal development opportunities. This included but is not exclusive to: Authoritative language training, Microsoft Excel training, data matrix training, and emailogic training. Most of these training opportunities took place using external training companies that work alongside Church and Dwight UK Ltd and their employees. Before leaving Church and Dwight I was also enrolled onto a course regarding Quality control practise and developing universal quality control related skills.
Above 25 days holiday
One the final week of leaving after having my farewell discussion with my manager, she told me to keep and ear out for opportunities with them after I graduate from university. Stating that I would be more than likely to secure a full time position with them and that they would be happy to have me back. Being an international company, my placement at Church and Dwight UK Ltd has also provided an opportunity for me to work abroad in the future.
Amongst the other placement students there was little social scene, this was mainly due from working in different departments, living in different location and having different interests. However during work social event all the interns enjoyed each others company. The greatest social scene was with immediate working colleagues who have similar interests and talking points from spending a lot of time of each working day together in the lab. These were the people I grow closest with and would socialise with outside of work.
Being positioned in the south east of England, the cost of living and socialising was somewhat more expense companied to my midlands university town. However the quality of the living and socialising opportunities was well worth the increased price. A few of the social events that I attended over the year were organised by Church and Dwight UK Ltd themselves and were heavily subsidised. This was they could also support our social lives and help interns to keep a good mental health while working away from friends/family.
Folkestone offers a fair range of late night pubs and restaurants which themselves offer good food and drinks. It was not long after working with the company that some of my workmates from the lab would start meeting up at the end of the week to socialise. However a lot of nightclubs in Folkestone have since closed down which leaves a gap went wanting to spend a few later nights out and you have to be satisfied with meeting round a friends house instead.
The year in Folkestone was split in half due to the weather. During the beaches and outdoor clubs are open and many people can get involved playing sports along the coast. personally I spent the free time fishing with some work colleagues and enjoying the coast. However in the winter when the weather gets worse there are less activities to get involved with. with this in mid there is still a very good independent cinema.
Placement Year (10 Months+)