By: Josie Copus BSc Biochemistry with Professional Placement Year
What’s the worst that could happen?
A placement in regulatory affairs? What even is ‘reg’ affairs?!
If, during stage 2 of Uni, someone told me that I was going to spend a full year working on regulatory submissions for one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies, I’d have laughed. More than that- I’d have panicked! Why? Because other than it being critical in delivering drugs to patients, I didn’t have the slightest comprehension or appreciation of what regulatory affairs involved.
Procter & Gamble is one of the largest personal care companies in the world. If I gave you 10 seconds to find a P&G product, I guarantee there would be at least 5 in the kitchen cupboard. They are responsible for delivering Ariel, Fairy, Bold, Gillette, and so many more brands.
Naturally, working for such a large business means having access to a lot of confidential information, which can be very daunting at first. What if I get it wrong? What if I release millions of pounds worth of information to our top competitor?
The new norm included logging in to different Zoom classes, communicating with classmates via e-mail or texts, and learning how to measure portion sizes from an online live lab. It was all new at first, but our lecturers were always ready to respond to any request we had. What I love the most is that our cohort is quite diverse with different people, ideas and backgrounds coming together to learn, discuss and debate on Nutrition and Dietetics matters. MDiet is a safe place for us to communicate our thoughts and goals.
When I first found out I had a placement at AstraZeneca (AZ), I thought I had a pretty good idea of what my days would be – hours and hours working in the lab, writing up experiments and poring over graphs. Maybe, I thought, I can improve my communication skills by presenting data to my team. But even with the unexpected shakeup of lockdown and coronavirus, I didn’t realise just how oversimplified my idea of a lab-based placement was.
I am a fan of lab work, but anyone who knows me well can tell you that one of my favourite pastimes is admin. I have no shame in admitting that I’m the person who finds joy in organising an inbox, or drawing up spreadsheets to track a team’s progress through a big task. It’s a strange hobby, but it’s satisfying, and so when I saw adverts to recruit a new AZ early talent committee, I could hardly not apply for the role of secretary. I had no professional secretarial experience, but it sounded so me!
placement with a Cancer Diagnostics company – yes please!
I’m studying BSc Biomedical Genetics with Professional Placement Year and knew I wanted to do a placement year since my first year of university, when I attended a placement talk given by several companies. A year and a half later, after applying to several companies, I found myself in an interview for a placement year at Leica Biosystems in Newcastle…and ended up getting the position!
Going abroad may be a week’s holiday, or to some it’s going global or for longer, but have you ever thought about studying abroad as part of your Newcastle University degree? You could study abroad for a few weeks or up to an entire year, and it could change your perspective forever.
‘I can honestly say it was the best time of my life’– Eleanor (semester at Monash University, Melbourne)
By Charlotte Ripley – Food and Human Nutrition Student
A trip to Italy?! Yes please!
In June, I attended a Food and Health Summer School in Italy, mixing with students from the University of Padova and the University of Sydney.
The focus was on the effects of different food components on overall health and well-being, with topics ranging from the effect of soil on the micronutrient content of foods to the worldwide issue of obesity – so the week was specifically aimed at those with a medical or food science background. Thankfully, everything was taught in English, as even Duolingo wouldn’t have prepared me for terms such as ‘squalene’, ‘fetotoxic’ or ‘teratogenicity’.
Though the week was primarily lecture based, we visited 2 different food producers (Grandi Molini Italiani – one of Europe’s largest flour mills – and Prosciuttificio Attilio Fontana Montagnana – a family-run prosciutto factory) and got to see some of Padova’s biggest attractions (Orto Botanica, Palazzo Bo and the Museum of History and Medicine). We even had our very own gala dinner to celebrate the end of the summer school – luckily, the lectures didn’t quite put me off the free wine on the tables.
Even if you’re unsure about doing a placement, investigate and prepare now – you can decide later not to do one but you do not want to regret not trying.
“ I wasn’t sure I wanted to do a placement until I went for interviews and saw the facilities, from which point I was sold!”Kristi’s GSK placement profile
“I didn’t want to do a placement but having spoken to Dr Lawry I decided to put my CV in for one. I’m so glad I did as my placement has been brilliant!” Ellie – Fujifilm Diosynth placement Continue reading “How to find a year-placement”