- Course: Chemistry with a Year in Industry MChem, BSc
- Year of graduation: 2019
- Job title: Placement Student within Research & Development
- Company: AzkoNobel
Rhiannon Hinton completed her Chemistry with a Year in Industry MChem, BSc degree in 2019, graduating with First class honours. During her studies, she undertook a 12-month placement year at AkzoNobel, a global paints and coatings company.
Year in Industry at AkzoNobel
Rhiannon spent a year working for AkzoNobel, a global paints and coatings company. She worked within their Decorative Paints business area making exterior and interior paint formulations for a number of different brands (the most well-known brand being Dulux). The company also have a Performance Coatings business area that makes products such as yacht varnishes.
She said, “I worked as a Project Chemist in the Research & Development Product Development Centre. I mainly worked with interior wall paint formulations, either formulating new products or enhancing existing ones to meet a set of criteria. I do this by producing the paint in the lab and then running a set of in-house tests upon it to see if it meets the required criteria.
I mainly worked with interior wall paint formulations, either formulating new products or enhancing existing ones to meet a set of criteria.
A typical day at work
“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 standards to see how the new formulation performs and to ascertain whether it meets the new requirements for the product. This is done using a range of in-house tests that gauge key properties of the paint. All results are fed back to my manager and discussed to decide on next steps.”
Rhiannon enjoyed the atmosphere of working in the labs, where the radio is always playing, and everyone has a laugh together. She added, “I enjoyed being able to plan my own work and being given total freedom to get done what I need to. This was evident towards the end of my placement, as I enjoyed the feeling of knowing what was going on, being able to put forward ideas when a problem was being discussed, especially when my idea was then used. This gave me a great deal of confidence.”
I enjoyed being able to plan my own work and being given total freedom to get done what I need to.
Gain real-world experience
“I wanted to get experience in the work place as I knew it would look good on my CV when it came to look for jobs after graduation. In addition, it has helped me gain a real insight into working life. I have also grown in confidence in myself in a lot of aspects, such as presenting skills, practical skills, technical knowledge, and data analysis. It took me a while to be confident enough to put myself forward in technical discussions, but I began to realise that I really did know my stuff, and everyone was very supportive, even if I did ever get anything wrong. Learning to be more assertive and confident will definitely be a great help to me in the future.”
...it has helped me gain a real insight into working life...
“Spending a year in the industry has made me realised how much I loved being in the workplace. You make great friends with the people you work with, and the opportunity to learn so many new skills... and my bank account looked happy for once!
Furthermore, the skills I gained from my year in industry and at Leeds have helped me secure a place on a Graduate Scheme. Doing a year in industry is such a worthwhile thing to do, and was the best year of my degree.
...the skills I gained from my year in industry and at Leeds have helped me secure a place on a Graduate Scheme.
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