Skip to content

Lauren Averill

BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering

Placement with Consort Medical (formerly Integrated Aluminium Components), Nelson (Aug 2019)

A profile picture of Lauren Averill, University of Bradford Placement student
Why did you apply to the University of Bradford? What was your first impression of the university and the city, and what did you enjoy most about your time in Bradford?

I applied to the University of Bradford because it was ranked third in the UK for Chemical Engineering. I also had it as a stand out university because of the integrated placement year; it was very rare to find the course with a placement year especially one ranked so high.

As soon as I attended the Open Day, it was clear to me that Bradford was the university I wished to attend. It is a very small campus university in the middle of the city, so it was very unique and with it being such a small campus it had a very apparent community feeling and it felt very safe. Everyone I spoke to on the day seemed to love the university and it was that enthusiasm that rubbed off on me.

When I moved into the halls as a fresher, I knew I had made friends for life. I also joined the Swimming Club and the Chemical Engineering Society. With swimming, I took part in weekly social events, competitions and various charity events; they became my university family as well as my flatmates. I was always busy at university, whether I was in lectures or doing work or just around the university; it’s such a community you feel like you know everyone, so I could go and do work at university whatever hour and always see people I knew.

Another thing which makes Bradford stand out is the city itself, it’s unlike anyplace I’ve ever been before – it completely stands out. You are also so close to Leeds and Manchester so can easily get to a city which is a bit busier; plus Bradford is renowned for a good takeaway!

Why did you choose that particular course?  What did you like and enjoy most about the course?

I chose chemical engineering because I always wanted to persue a technical career; with chemical engineering it provides the opportunity for lab-based work, industry based, business based and even project management. I loved that I didn’t need to know what I wanted to do when I graduated, I could enjoy the course and see where it took me, what parts stood out the most and interested me enough to persue them further. 

One of the stand-out things for chemical engineering at Bradford was the student – lecturer ratio. The sizes of the years are so small which means you can build up a really good rapport with the lecturers, particularly with the Head of Department, Dr Raj Patel, so it feels a lot more personal than other universities and courses.  Dr Patel also came from industry so knew what knowledge graduate students are often lacking, there was a lot of practical lab based work built into the course which enabled us to fully apply our knowledge and be able to apply the theoretical knowledge we learn on the course in practical situations after university.   

What tips would you give to prospective students about the course at the University of Bradford and the university itself?

Come to an ‘Open Day’ and get a feel for the university, have a look around the labs and see if it feels right for you. Also this will give you an opportunity to meet with lecturers and students so you can get an insight into what studying here will be like.

Get involved! To truly experience Bradford, you need to feel like part of the community, and you need something to do outside of lectures and university work, so join every club and society that interests you. Get involved with everything, there will always be opportunities that come your way, plus there are so many Bradford specific events to take part in such as Team Bradford, Varsity against Huddersfield University and Intramural.

The course is intense and it will often take over; you will have to dedicate a lot of hours into your work so be prepared. There are also many places to turn for help – Bradford has an amazing support system. There is Peer Learning so you can get help from above years and the lecturers will always help, plus your course mates are always willing to help as you’re doing the same work at the same time.

Get involved! To truly experience Bradford, you need to feel like part of the community, and you need something to do outside of lectures and university work, so join every club and society that interests you. Get involved with everything, there will always be opportunities that come your way, plus there are so many Bradford specific events to take part in such as Team Bradford, Varsity against Huddersfield University and Intramural.
What support have you received from Career and Employability Services / Placement Staff?

The Career and Employability Service is amazing; without them I wouldn’t have a placement. They helped me update my CV, taught me how to write a cover letter to make it company and job specific. They gave me interview practice and helped me prepare.

I obtained my placement through ‘speculative application’, which meant I contacted the company directly to ask if I could complete a year in industry instead of applying traditionally (through company advertisements).  I was informed by the Faculty Lead Career Consultant about the company and she encouraged me to contact them.  I emailed the company and was really pleased that they responded promptly and were willing to consider me – I was invited to have a look around and have a chat with various staff about a placement role. 

Career and Employability Service is also always running various employability workshops to improve every employment skill or aspect you need.  You can now book online with Career Consultants for a one-to-one meeting and discussion.

What action are you taking to improve your employability whilst at University?

I am continuing to expand my LinkedIn network, every professional I meet I add on LinkedIn as you never know what opportunities people can provide to you. I also keep my CV continually up-to-date so it can be used whenever I need it.

What advice would you give to your fellow students about finding placement and work experience opportunities?

Speak to careers and your lecturers as they may know people in industry who you can speculatively apply to and see if they can provide you with any opportunities. Constantly look for opportunities on Gradcracker and on FEI-Pre Placement CANVAS (the University VLE) to see what’s available. Research the industry and various companies, if there is a company that interests you, then send your CV and a Cover letter to them; speculative applications show initiative and are always going to be more tailored to your interests!

Tell us about your current placement...

I started working as a Placement Chemical Engineer (shadowing the Chemical Process Engineer) with Consort Medical (formerly Integrated Aluminium Component, IAC), Nelson on 1st August.  I am working in an anodising factory that process components for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

I have been given the responsibility of looking at increasing control on the anodising plant, gaining information from suppliers, trial units, quotes, feasibility study etc. My second project is a semi bright replacement project/ DESAD replacement project, so I will be performing initial validation trials, feasibility testing on the titanium frames and on the anodising plants as well as components.

How will the placement year benefit you when you return to study at the University of Bradford?

Completing work on two separate projects here at Consort Medical will help me inordinately when I return to university.  I will have a much better understanding of my degree subject through being able to apply my knowledge in an industry based environment. This will be beneficial when completing the final year design project.

I have also gained valuable skills of working in industry, such as lab based work and testing, planning and organisation and project management skills with witnessing first-hand the installation of a new effluent plant and being involved in the initial research and planning phase of the new anodising plant.