I thoroughly enjoyed my placement year at Lubrizol because I was involved in innovative and exciting projects through-out the year. I contributed towards the development and planning stage of a new project which progressed to the initial testing phase – this was super rewarding to see before my placement finished! The company also provided a range of opportunities/activities which I got involved in including: STEM events, charity committee and poster competitions. Overall, the Hazelwood site is incredibly friendly and always willing to help and aid your learning over the year.
I always felt valued and treated as a full-time employee by all my colleagues during my placement year at Lubrizol. My contributions towards projects were always listened to and I was regularly asked for my opinion in meetings too. Specific student led projects were always a large contribution to the charity and STEM committee meetings, which later on become appreciated across site. Overall, I felt no different to any other employee at Lubrizol which made me feel a lot more integrated within the Applied and Strategic department.
My supervisor was very supportive towards my learning and personal development through-out the year. We regularly organised catch up meetings to discuss any current issues and plan the next steps for the project - this was really helpful as it kept my work focussed. I was able to easily approach my supervisor with any questions I had. He was great at providing a background into the chemistry and the business purposes of the projects. Overall, I formed a great supervisor-student relationship with him which made my placement year an even better experience!
My tasks varied on a day-to-day basis according to project deadlines, but overall the work was manageable on a daily basis. I was never overwhelmed with too much work, as my supervisor understood the deadlines I had for the week. The busiest I felt on placement was when I was required to write my industrial year report for university whilst prioritizing Lubrizol projects at work. However, at times I did find myself to have less laboratory focussed work compared to the other students in the Applied and Strategic department.
I was made quite responsible from very early on in my placement year. I was responsible for conducting standard tests without supervision and was given flexibility to plan my own timetable for the week based on high priority project work. This definitely gave me a lot of independence from day one. I was also responsible for training new hires during my placement year. Finally, it was also my responsibility to create presentations and posters to communicate my work to the rest of the team/department in meetings.
The skills I have developed over the year have allowed me to think more critically and creatively than before. These skills will definitely benefit me towards my final year project once I return to university. I have also become more confident and comfortable with presentations and scientific posters which again will help me in my final year at University. Overall, working in the Applied and Strategic department has given me an understanding of research and that not everything goes entirely to plan! It has taught me to be more flexible and resilient – these skills are beneficial for any type of challenging environment I will encounter in the future.
I was sat in a large office with another student, chemists, apprentices, lab technicians and research chemists. There was always a fun and friendly atmosphere in the office! Even though it was a full office, it wasn’t always busy which meant that it was also quiet enough to get on with work without distractions. Different to the other students in the Applied and Strategic department, I wasn’t sat with my supervisor in the same office. Since COVID-19, a phased return was implemented so now only half of the office is in at once - this allows for a 2m social distance. Overall, I really enjoyed being in the office as I learnt a lot from each individual.
The placement year was organised really well from the beginning, as we had a student familiarisation day and consistent introductory meetings during the first half of my placement. For a new beginner, I became aware of the appropriate contacts, systems and locations for when I needed it. The company showed great organisation once it also came to site closure due to COVID-19. I was regularly informed about the changes to the Hazelwood site and was fully equipped with PPE upon return.
Sports and Social Club
Working from home
Unfortunately, there isn’t an official graduate scheme at Lubrizol. However, the company has previously hired former placement students that have had experience within the company – whether it is within the Lubrizol Additives (LZA) or Lubrizol Advanced Materials (LZAM) business segment. There is definitely an opportunity to work at Lubrizol once vacancies are available. Lubrizol employees tend to settle and work at the company for many years, meaning the turnover number for new hires is quite low.
Lubrizol offers many different opportunities and activities to get involved with through-out the year. As an employee, you can get involved with the charity, environmental, STEM and sports committee at the Hazelwood facility. There was also a chance to get involved in volunteering events such as the British Science Festival which Lubrizol contributed in for the first time in September 2019! Badminton sessions were also organised for Lubrizol employees every Tuesday which was a great way to meet people outside of your department. However, since COVID-19 there has been a lot fewer activities/opportunities available due to social distancing rules.
Placement Year (10 Months+)