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Dana – My Year in Industry and beyond, at Surfachem

As part of her chemistry degree course at the University of Huddersfield, Dana played an active role in securing an industrial placement.

Dana tells us her story…

My experience in the second year with interviews for industrial placement wasn’t good. I’d gone to about five interviews, applied to 25+ jobs, and had either not heard back from some jobs, or had been rejected completely by others. By the time the stressful exam season came round, I had almost fully given up on finding a placement.

That was until my friend sent me an advert from the university, about a six-week summer placement at Surfachem, a 2M Holdings Company.

After applying, interviewing and meeting some people, I was delighted to be offered a six-week summer job in the head office, to deal with the regulatory information for the company. Even though I would have preferred working in a laboratory over summer, I knew that working behind the scenes of a chemical company would still give me an edge when it came to finding a job once I’d graduated.

 

My first week working for the company went by quickly; I’d been assigned to the technical team and was given my first project, which included updating COSSH and product information sheets. As part of my enrolment, I’d spent time with the other teams within the company – from sales to purchasing and account managers. Everyone in the company was genuinely nice, and would always be willing to help if I came to them with a problem.

As the weeks went by I felt like an essential part of the team, so when I heard from Technical Director Fakhara Jones that they were exploring a Year in Industry placement for me, I was over the moon.

My placement year was one of the most enjoyable years I’d had at university. I’ll admit that at first, it was daunting. The number of products that were kept and used in the lab, as well as figuring out what did what in a formulation astounded me, but as the weeks passed I found that I could commit a lot of the information to memory.

Preparing for SCS Formulate was one of the biggest tests of my placement year. We needed to make up about 20 different products, all to be displayed at the exhibition, within a couple of weeks. Since we were making such a large amount of products, working precisely and efficiently was essential.

As my Year in Industry came to an end, we started having discussions about me coming back and working part-time through my last year at University. It was an amazing opportunity. Not only did it allow me to keep up to date with projects and formulation work, but it also meant that coming back full time after graduation would be a smoother process, both for myself and the company.

Two weeks after finishing my last exams, I started working full time for Surfachem, and I honestly couldn’t be happier. The experiences and relationships that I’ve gained throughout these two years invaluable and I hope that my journey into Formulation continues to be just as wonderful.

Dana, Technical Development Chemist, Surfachem (Chemicals Northwest in the December 2017 edition of Elements Magazine)  |  Friday, 22 December, 2017

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