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Students get a taste for life as an Intertek scientist

Students get a taste for life as an Intertek scientist

Lewis Cowen, who is on his year in industry placement with Intertek, talks to West Lancashire College students about careers in the industry.

Students from West Lancashire College visited Intertek’s laboratories in one of the region’s largest science parks to get a taste of life as a scientist.

More than 25 college students descended on Hexagon Tower in Blakely, Manchester, as part of a day-long event organised by leading testing, inspection and certification firm Intertek.

The 18-year-olds were treated to chemistry workshops, with real-life examples, and had the chance to pick the brains of some of the country’s leading scientists on the careers available in the industry. As well as getting up-to-the-minute careers advice, the teens took part in an analytical chemistry problem solving quiz and toured the facilities.

Intertek, a global quality solutions provider with 66 sites across the UK, tests everything from the latest anti-cancer drugs to cosmetics at its Manchester laboratory, where it employs 88 people.

Intertek is committed to encouraging more people in science careers and has taken on around 10 new starters and two apprentices in the Manchester laboratory, this year alone.
Existing students undertaking ‘year in industry’ placements at Intertek also helped out on the day by sharing top tips and experiences of working in the science sector.

Intertek has taken on placement students for the last ten years and is a firm believer in bringing students into the laboratory so they can experience first-hand what life as professional laboratory scientist might be like.

During his placement year Matthew Lockwood, a chemistry undergraduate degree at Manchester University, developed a method to study the solubility of chemical substances and the data generated from this will be used in the regulatory registration of a new chemical product.

He said:

Intertek has not only helped me develop basic lab skills which are vital for working in a laboratory, but also given me daily contact with state-of-the-art analytical equipment. I feel much more prepared for my final research year than my peers who did not do an industrial year as I have a far superior knowledge of general lab skills, thanks to Intertek.”

Another placement student Sophie Rothwell, Senior Experimental Chemist, enjoyed her year so much she joined the company:

The experience I gained from my industrial placement year was invaluable and provided me with a solid foundation on which to build my career as an analytical chemist. Due to the vast analytical techniques that Intertek has at the facility, I was able to expand my practical skills using a variety of instruments. I thoroughly enjoyed my placement at Intertek and that’s why I decided to join the company!”

Intertek, whose founder Thomas Edison is known for his discovery of the lightbulb, is determined to encourage more young people into science careers to develop scientific expertise and innovation for the future. The company supports science in schools and colleges by demonstrating how science skills and knowledge can lead to varied and fascinating careers.

Dr Neil Truslove, Technology Manager, commented:

It is a rewarding opportunity to help our future generation of scientists understand how their degree might be applied in the wider industry. At the same time our students conduct research projects that form part of their degree requirements.

We hope that the taster day for the students of West Lancashire College has inspired them to pursue a career in science, we may even see them in a couple of years’ time when they are considering taking year in industry placements.”

Rob van Dorp, chief executive UK & Eire for Intertek said:

At Intertek, we are keen to show young people how interesting science can be and the opportunities that are open to them. We want to help students realise that science can offer a great career with dynamic, commercial and global possibilities above and beyond an academic one. We hope to encourage people who will innovate for generations to come.”

Intertek is an international firm with over 66 offices across the UK. Its Manchester base at Hexagon Tower specialises in product testing. Chris Mitchell, Associate Director at LaSalle Investment Management – which manages the BEST Network’s portfolio of science parks, which includes Hexagon Tower – said:

It is inspiring to see so many students consider a career in the science industry.

Over the last 200 years, scientists have made history on the site of Hexagon Tower – firstly with the development of dyes as part of Blackley Works and more recently with the ground-breaking work carried out by companies like Intertek.

The science industry in Manchester is flourishing, bringing with it hundreds of opportunities for young people to take up careers as scientists.”

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