Name: Yvonne Owens
Job: Chemical Engineering, British Sugar
I've always tried to spend my summer vacation taking relevant work placements which would benefit me when applying for graduate positions.
Placement with a local Civil Engineering contractor
Following my first year at university I spent the summer with a local Civil Engineering contractor who had been contracted for a water scheme by the local authority. While not directly related to the Chemical Engineering industry, I really benefited from the industry experience learning alot about water treatment, customer services and the communication difficulties between contractors and their employers.
IAESTE programme in Prague
In my second year I was given the opportunity to apply to the IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experiences) programme. I was placed in a university in Prague, Czech Republic and spent 12 weeks in the Analytical Chemistry department, refining my technical and laboratory skills. The experience was also life-changing to learn from the other exchange students and tour the Czech countryside together.
Placement with an international pharmaceutical company
This summer, I was fortunate to get a placement with an international pharmaceutical manufacturer. Working in their factory, I spent time in the laboratories and on site. The experience was invaluable, teaching me so much about hands-on factory work and also new technical skills in the chemistry and unit operations laboratories. I felt valued, contributing to worthwhile projects and my efforts were formally awarded within the company.
I am currently applying to graduate programmes within the food and pharmaceutical industries. In the future I think I would very much enjoy the hands-on work of being on site, while possibly working towards a management role.
Top tip for students coming to Queen's
I think the most important thing in coming to university is to be open to meeting new people. I enjoyed trying new sports and attempting to learn new languages. I've met so many friends through my course, living in halls, sports clubs, language classes and my work experiences, I wouldn't change my time at Queen's for the world! I've also learned not to be afraid to ask for help, the staff here are always helpful and patient in their guidance.