Studying at Plymouth allows you to gain a lot of hands-on lab experience across all three years of your course, starting with basic wet chemistry techniques, right up to learning and seeing how analytical instruments work. I found this experience invaluable as I can now help customers troubleshoot their laboratory instruments.
The academic staff and the support staff are very supportive. You are given a personal tutor who can help you with any academic or personal problems you have. You can also turn to the laboratory technicians who can help you with any lab-based issues you have and for me they were beyond helpful when it came to planning and undertaking the laboratory work for my dissertations.
When I came to Plymouth, I started on the extended science foundation year and was set on working in a lab after I graduated. My course-related lab work made me want to use inductively coupled plasma (optical emission spectroscopy analysis) as part of my job, so my dissertations were both related to water quality and metal pollution.
While studying MSc Environmental Consultancy I undertook an 8-week placement at Royal HaskoningDHV in Exeter. This made me sure that I wanted to work in the environmental field, with an emphasis on rivers and water quality.
However, after graduating I ended up working for Restek, where we primarily focus on gas and liquid chromatography.
One of the appealing things about studying in Plymouth, other than the location, was that the course was accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry and some of the
laboratorieswere ISO9001 accredited - so I was able to graduate from an accredited course and also gain ISO9001 accreditation at the same time.
Studying at Plymouth allows you to gain the right balance of theoretical knowledge from your lectures, which is directly related to the laboratory work you will undertake that week.
After graduating I quickly joined Thames Restek, (a chromatographic science company which develops and manufactures equipment for separating complex mixtures) as an Internal Sales Representative to assist in supporting the technical sales representatives. This role involved helping with the day-to-day quotes and this has progressed to me taking on more technical projects. I have recently become the Technical Sales Representative for the south of England, including Plymouth.
As with any job, the majority of the work can be quite repetitive, however my role solving complex customer problems is very rewarding when you help come up with a solution and by doing this, I have helped customers to design custom valves and chromatography columns to meet their lab's needs.