Rhiannon Hinton

Rhiannon Hinton

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

I work for AkzoNobel. They have three business areas; Speciality Chemicals, Protective Coatings and Decorative Paints. I work in the decorative paints area where they make interior and exterior wall paints (the most well-known brand they make is Dulux).

What is your role within the company?

My role is in the Research & Development Product Development Centre. I work on adjusting interior paints formulations and testing the subsequent paints.

Can you give me an insight into a typical day?

In a typical day I make up a paint to a new formulation that has been decided upon by my manger and myself. Once the paint has been made it needs to be tested against the standard to see if the changes we have made in the formulation have affected the properties of the paint (obviously the hope is that it hasn't). I perform a number of in house tests to ascertain if a change has occurred. All results are fed back to my manager and discussed.

What do you enjoy the most and do you get involved in any interesting projects?

I enjoy the atmosphere in the labs and being able to plan my own work; being given total freedom to get done what I need to. At the moment I am just working on cost saving projects but as I learn and become more experienced I will be put onto more interesting projects.

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I wanted to get experience in the work place as I knew it would look good on my CV when it came to looking for jobs after university. In addition it gives me a feel of what it's like to work in the industry and helps me think about what I want to do permanently when I leave university. Throughout the year I will learn lots of valuable skills; both in and out of the lab that will be very useful when I return to university for my fourth year.

What do you think you have got out of this experience so far?

So far I feel I have become more independent in my work as I've got used to being given work to do and left to my own devices to get it done by a certain time, and having to plan all aspects of my work, from time management to booking equipment to ensuring all raw materials I need are in stock.

Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

 It is definitely a worthwhile thing to do; the application process can be hard due to juggling it alongside university work but don't give up on it, get as much help with applications as you can, from the careers centre, your personal tutor, and if you need help for a specific industry, seek advice from your academic tutor in the most relevant field (e.g. inorganic, organic or physical). Don't be afraid to sell yourself at interviews and assessment centres; you could be one of hundreds of applicants so the company needs to see why they should choose you over everyone else. Also make sure to do some background reading on the company before any interviews so you can answer any questions they might ask and explain why you want to work for their company specifically.