I chose to do a placement to gain a better understanding of the areas of chemistry which most interest me. Not only did I achieve this, but I also increased technical, communication and presentation skills applicable to future jobs, giving me an edge on other candidates who don’t have the same level of experience.
I’d like to pursue a career in analytical chemistry research and development, and believe my placement has guided me towards this goal.
Supported from start to finish
The support offered by the University when applying for placements is excellent, and careers fairs offer a perfect opportunity to question employers about what they offer. My placement provider, British American Tobacco, also gave a presentation about the company and their placement scheme.
I was also well supported during my placement. The company has up to 15 students a year, assisted by a dedicated placement team, and from a practical perspective, my manager had extensive expertise in analytical chemistry so could answer all my technical questions.
To help us develop our ‘soft’ business skills, we were also offered several workshops. A one-day workshop on presentation skills was particularly useful, plus others on CV-writing, interview techniques and networking. As well as giving me more confidence, these will all help my future employability.
Becoming a well-rounded individual
I'd encourage anybody to do a placement, as you gain valuable insight into different work areas and directions for your career. The placement experience helps you become a more rounded individual and sets you apart from other students.
Start your applications early, but don’t be disheartened if you can’t secure the placement you want - every placement is worthwhile.