Why I chose Chemical Engineering with an industrial year at Birmingham

Published: Posted on

Hi! My name is Yasmin, and I am a UOB chemical engineering student currently doing my industrial placement at Calgavin LTD. Over the next few months I hope to give you all some insight into my life as an industrial placement student as well as some tips and tricks to help you secure and make the most out of your placement!

Photo of Yasmin sat on a sofa

I think the first thing to address would be why I even chose to do an industrial year in the first place! I was originally set to do my MEng all in one go, as I wanted to finish university as quickly as possible. However, as I went through my first and second years, it became apparent that adding an industrial year to my degree program was very necessary to get the most out of my university experience. You may also be unsure as to whether to choose, or add on an industrial year at Birmingham, so I have put together 7 reasons why I chose to do an industrial year at the university of Birmingham.

  1. As I progressed through my course; I became more unsure of what I wanted to do with my degree once I graduated (I have a tendency to be quite fickle!). I knew that spending a year with a company, going in from 9 to 5 and really experiencing what a particular industry was like, I would be able to confirm my love for it or rule it out completely.
    image of a bust street with professionals walking with purpose
  2.   I knew with whichever industry I ended up working in, I would learn invaluable soft skills that I could apply in my day to day. These range from discipline (having to wake up early and get to work for 9am after a year of trotting into uni whenever, was a challenge at first) to interpersonal skills.
  3. I really wanted to see how I could apply what I had learnt in my first 3 years on university in real life. Although our lecturers do their best to provide examples of industrial applications for what we’re Being taught, nothing beats the real thing! Finally, being able to work with heat exchangers has given me a new appreciation for some modules that I wasn’t particularly fond of when I first learnt them!
    Boy studying with his head resting on a book in distress
  4. On the reverse side of the point above, some of the stuff I’ve learnt on the job will be taught to me next year! Before I applied to Calgavin I spoke to some of the previous industrial students who told me how Some of the things they learnt on placement helped them in their final year modules. I must add that this is job specific however so make sure you choose your placement wisely……
  5. I am a great believer of always taking yourself out of your comfort zone and a placement does that! I am constantly looking for new challenges and I knew doing a placement would present many of those (I was right 🙂 )
  6. We all hope to receive a job after we graduate. If you’re lucky, after an industrial placement you might not have to wait until graduation to receive a job offer. A few companies will offer you graduate schemes if you’re performed well during your time with them. Even if they don’t, the training and expertise they give you makes you incredibly desirable to other employers, hence making the final year job search so much easier. The training you receive is usually industry specific, for instance I have been taught how to use HTRI, a program many process engineering firms use to design and size their heat exchangers. I have also been taught to code in Python and VBA, both very sought-after coding languages.lines of code on a computer screen
  7. With regards to choosing to do this course specifically at Birmingham, UOB has won many awards in regard to employability. Even though I didn’t start my course intending to do an industrial placement, I knew the university was well equipped to help me should I change my mind.The careers network offers many resources, such as the CV checks and mock interviews, both of which helped me secure my placement. Additionally, the chemical engineering department has specific careers advice, as well as a multitude of opportunities to meet with employers and visit their factories/offices. All of these things left me confident enough to apply, as I was sure I had the tools to secure a placement.Image of Yasmin in work gear including a hi-vis jacket and goggles
  8. The chemical engineering society, BUCES, also has an industrial rep, who is incredibly helpful. They organise an industrial dinner every year where we get to mingle with over 15 different companies (many of them being big players in many chemical engineering fields). These companies often send their current placement students, and talking to people actually on the job really helped me decide to do the industrial year and choose which industries I wanted to apply to.picture of BUCES members stood together
  9. MONEY! Every student’s favourite word. Name two things better than receiving a salary (Yep, you get paid to do your placement) and still having access to student discounts? I’ll wait………I hope my 9 reasons have helped you decide whether you want to do a placement! Keep checking back to reading my next blog on  a day in the life of an industrial year student at Calgavin!