Sophie Kirkpatrick

Sophie Kirkpatrick

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

Diversey is a company which manufactures a wide variety of cleaning products for building care, hospitality, healthcare, food service, retail, government and education. They develop concentrated solutions of cleaning products, as well as the dosing/dispensing systems required to dilute the products safely and correctly.

What is your role within the company?

As an intern, I have been given a project which I will work on for the majority of the year. This involves making various formulations and then testing them rigorously to find out if the formulation could potentially become a product. I have to try different raw materials, quantities and methods so that I can find the best formulation and then choose the correct tests to see if my formulations could be successful.

Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?

I cycle to work to arrive for 9 o’clock. Usually I will begin the day by sitting at my desk and checking emails. Then I will plan what formulations I am going to make and go to the lab. On some days I will attend meetings with my supervisor and people from marketing, commercialisation, supply chain and regulatory affairs to discuss progress and the next stages of the whole project. After lunch I will either carry on with formulations or do performance tests for what I have made. Then I will analyse the results and discuss them with my supervisor.         

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

I really enjoy getting to meet lots of new people from different countries in a completely new environment. As well as my own project, I get to see what everyone else is working on, including new innovations and improving products for customers. For example, I am helping on a project aiming to develop a product for firefighters.   

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I really wanted to gain as much experience as possible and build on the skills I have already developed at university. I hoped that undertaking a year in industry would give me insight into what career I would want in the future.    

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

I have already learned so much about both the business aspect of the company and what formulating cleaning products involves. I have gained more independence because I have to manage my own time and I am responsible for an important project. I have also had the opportunity to live in the Netherlands which has been very exciting!

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

Make sure to be well informed about a placement before you apply and keep trying! Don’t be put off if you haven’t got one at first, just keep applying until you find one!