Beer for breakfast?

During my work at Shepherd Neame’s Faversham brewery I was assigned to their laboratory. In the Analytical section of the lab, my tasks were to analyse beer samples to be sure they were in spec in terms of Co2, OG, PG, Bitterness, and polyphenol levels. Additional tests included carrying out head retention tests and VDKs to measure diacetyl and pentose levels in beer. In order to effectively determine these levels I had to become adept in the use of a number of machines, and the method of different analysis. The week I spent in the analysis section of the lab allowed me to gain the confidence of the operators and became proficient enough to be left to my own devices while taking samples around all areas of the brewery, conducting analysis of samples during different points in production, and carrying out my own projects within the lab. These projects included a joint venture with operators to measure effectiveness of yeast cultivation through use of different methods, and the making of my own homebrew using brewery supplies. I can say that the final result of this added to my experience several times over.

The second section I worked in was the microbiology section of the lab. During the week, I conducted yeast counts, cultivated different yeast strains through different methods, worked with different yeast agar mediums, and applied plating techniques using nanomembrane filters.

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Don’t rock the boat, baby

This June, I took part in a two week internship with Library and Archives Team at Chatham Historic Dockyard. Here is a short account of my experiences, and how they will definitely help me in the future…

The main skill that I gained from my work experience at Chatham Historic Dockyard was an in-depth understanding of the heritage sector. On my first day, I was given a “behind-the-scenes” site tour, allowing me to understand the day-to-day operations of an internationally renowned museum. As a History student who is interested in a career in the heritage sector, the knowledge I gained was invaluable, and will certainly be useful when applying for full-time positions at museums and other heritage sites.

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A photograph of me completing collections records audits – transferring paper copies into electronic copies

Another skill which I developed at the Dockyard was my project delivery skills. When I arrived at the Dockyard, I was assigned my own project as part of the wider project to refurbish the Library and Archives building. During my work experience, I drove my own project, learning how to organise my work and time effectively. Whilst working independently, I also communicated orally and in writing to other members of staff in an effective and professional manner. My project management and delivery skills are hugely transferable to many sectors, and will be sure to interest prospective employers.

Given the bulk of my work took place in the library and archives of the Dockyard, it is also unsurprising that I gained an understanding of archival work. Whilst I had visited a number of archives during my studies at Kent, I had little understanding of how they operated, and the work that goes into their upkeep. During my work experience I learned how archives store and organise their artefacts. I was able to get hands on in this work, by compiling databases and auditing library collections. I also learned how to the use the museum’s specialist collections software – Vernon CMI, and was able to input new artefacts to great success. This experience gave me great insight into libraries and archives, which will be useful when applying for jobs in the sector. My increased understanding of databases and office work is hugely transferable and will no doubt come in handy in whatever career I pursue.

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The main library and archives room. Many collections are boxed up and ready to be moved to the soon-to-be-built new library.

Another skill which I was able to develop was events management. . As part of my work experience, I was part of a team which delivered a large scale educational event for several hundred school age children. My role included ushering groups around and communicating effectively with senior staff.

Arguably the most significant skill I gained from my work experience was confidence in networking.  During my work experience I was able to discuss my ambitions and career prospects with staff, gaining some useful advice along the way. I also gained a number of connections on my LinkedIn profile through my work experience, which will be useful in expanding my working network. My contact’s offer to provide me with a reference for job applications was also hugely helpful.

– George Croft is a recent University of Kent History graduate. Featured photo: The H.M.S. Gannet – A Royal Navy sloop built in 1878, one of three ships on site.

On this side of the law

The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary made it possible for me to commute to London and back for the duration of my placement. Without it I would have undoubtedly struggled more financially and perhaps would have only been able to attend my placement for a shorter period of time.

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Working at Darlingtons was extremely insightful. Initially carrying out tasks on the conveyancing floor of the firm was enjoyable as I have worked in this sector before and this furthered my understanding of the legal procedure and what the solicitors do on a day-to-day basis. After being introduced to all the members of the property team I assisted with various admin tasks as well as drafting letters and assessing freehold property sale files. Further to this I made phone calls to banks and the council, as well as clients. I was also tasked with proof reading a case by one of the solicitors from litigation during my first week. Other experience involved taking an appeal to court. Initially scheduled in for a week of work, I managed to gain a second week after my first day.

My second week was more focused on litigation, as the partner 3on that floor, David Rosen gave me numerous research tasks after briefing me on the cases he was working. I was able to listen to client calls, read through cases, listen to a police interview and carry out other jobs which were given to me. I organised case documents for a witness statement, created a case bundle and accompanying index for court, was asked to read through a case and defend my opinion on it, as well as assisting in the creation of a letter with the litigation partner, where my ideas and suggestions were included on a number of occasions.

 

Overall I felt that I truly gained valuable experience as well as great connections in the legal sphere which will prove helpful in the future. My second week specifically provided me with an inclination that litigation may well be the field I specialise in in the future as I enjoyed it so thoroughly. The whole team was friendly, approachable and keen to give me tasks to complete. I was given challenges which ultimately made me feel more confident in my abilities as I received positive feedback at the end of my time there.

– Alexandra Lima is a 3rd year Law student at the University of Kent

One love…let’s get together and feel alright

As part of my postgraduate studies in Peace and Conflict Studies, I am currently completing a three-month internship with terre des hommes Germany. Terre des hommes is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation fighting for children’s rights around the world and I am grateful that I can get to know their valuable work.

I have been interested in development and humanitarian aid for a long time and although I have completed several other internships , I never got to know the work of a non-governmental organisation. Therefore, this is a valuable new insight for me. I am also learning how to apply for project funds from the German government but also from the European Union.

Most of my time so far has been spent working on a project proposal for the EU and I was able to learn about the whole process: we started to develop an idea for a project in India, which supports Indian organisations fighting against human trafficking and child labour. We then developed the idea further, discussing individual project activities, the necessary budget, etc. Next, we filled out the long application form, prepared all necessary information and finally submitted the application to the EU. I really hope that they will accept the project proposal and hence fund the project, as I truly believe in the positive impact this project will have.

I am grateful for the technical knowledge I am gaining, as I will be able to apply it while working for every other non-governmental organisation. However, I am even more grateful to get to know this positive work experience, as every staff member truly supports the organisation’s goals and vision, the whole team is very motivated to do the work well. If I am able to find a job within an organisation with such a positive working atmosphere, I will consider myself lucky.

As a German student who has not been home for a while, I explicitly searched for an internship near my hometown. I was lucky that I found an internship with terre des hommes, as the organisation is located in a city just 20 minutes by train from my hometown. I am currently living with my parents again which is amazing as I can spend time with my family. As my internship is unpaid, my parents are supporting me financially. It is great that the University of Kent Work Experience Bursary allows me to contribute to the costs and I would like to thank those behind the Bursary scheme for all their support.

– Lisa Kramer is studying for an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies

The law of the land

The work experience bursary has given me the opportunity to undertake work experience in the area of law in which I am undertaking my Masters, namely Medical Law & Ethics.  This was an invaluable opportunity to observe the advisory side of the barristers’ work as well as a solid introduction to the Cororner’s court.

I was also fortunate in that I shadowed a Queen’s Counsel in her work on Inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice.  This was very insightful of the workings of the Coroner’s court and informed of the procedures adopted in this specialist court.  As a result, I am well-versed with these.

I have also sat in the trial which was attended by 12 party representatives and also observed by a jury of 13.  The trial related to the suicide incident of a patient whilst at Priory Hospital in London. During my time there, I observed many experts giving evidence and the coroner and barristers questioning them in relation to their dealings with the matters.

I also sat in a conference in which the QC provided advice on a disciplinary investigation. As a result of this invaluable insight into healthcare practice, I gained a practical understanding of this specialist area which reinforced my academic knowledge acquired on my LLLM and cemented my interest for this field of practice.

The skills which I have acquired as a result of this exposure:

  • An understanding to the Coroner’s court
  • An understanding of the procedure of the Coroner’s Court
  • The nature of Inquests
  • The purpose of Inquests
  • Professional regulation of various medical professionals
  • Advisory side of the Bar

I am grateful for the support this bursary has given me in order to complete this work experience, which without the bursary, I would not have been able to afford it. Thank you to Kent and to the donors who make this possible.

– Ibtisam El-Jeaadi

The laws have changed

How was my work experience valuable? The list is substantial and I could go on, but the main thing I took out from my placement at Devereux Chambers, London is the insight into the barristers’ work. Such insight is of importance for a second stage law student, who should be making some big life decisions at this stage. Before, I did not know whether I duly wanted to do an LPC and become a lawyer, or whether doing a GDL and becoming a barrister would suit my personality better. Now I know the mixture of the two professions are appropriate. Additionally, I was not sure whether I am truly interested in tort law… so much as to represent harmed people for the rest of my life (alongside other things).

The work placement affirmed my interests and allowed me to see that I am capable of being a great representative in this field. Of course, no work experience will tell you exactly what you can and cannot do in life, rather it will be an indicator. For me, being in a highly respectable environment with a highly skilled personal injury barrister, reading his submissions and saying to myself ‘Ah, that is exactly what I thought’ indicates my potential. My learning was put into practice and was deemed to be useful.

Thanks to the bursary scheme, I could buy work-wear appropriate for the environment and felt comfortable in being the ‘newbie’ in the office. I could afford a ticket that meant I could get the 07:18 am train and be at Temple Station by 9am – I really do not know what would happen if that option was not available, it was already tiring to leave home at 7am and come back at 8pm. But, at least I know what kind of working world I am stepping into and what kind of working hours are to be expected.

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Dr. Feelgood

I was lucky enough to get two weeks’ work experience in an NHS pathology lab. Whilst based in the blood science department which consisted of haematology, virology and clinical biochemistry, I spent most of my time in the latter; although the department suggests unity between the sections, they are very much separate. The clinical biochemistry section is further split up into Automation (the largest area), and 4 other specialist areas; Point of Care Testing, High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Proteins and Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry. Unfortunately, I was unable to handle the samples due to caution of Hepatitis B, a robust virus which can survive on surfaces for up to 3 months and often survive after the surface has been bleached.

I was able to observe the journey of up to 8000 patient samples a day, through pre-analytical, analytical and post analytical stages. Most of my time was spent in automation where I moved between the four lines and became familiar with the machines and the tests they run. The first line was used for samples coming from A&E and thus including assays for troponin T, a marker for Myocardial infarction, the other lines did not include such assays. I came across multiple methods used to determine contents of the samples including spectrophotometry, Ion Selective Electrodes, Immunoassays, colorimetric assays, electrophoresis and immunoelectrophoresis. Whilst on this experience I realised how important calibration, Internal and external quality controls are when maintaining the machines; to ensure the most accurate and valid results.

After graduation, I must complete a portfolio approved by IBMS in order to officially be a biomedical scientist. Whilst on work experience the difficulty in finding a year placement was reiterated again and again. These warnings did not put me off working within a lab, but instead further motivated me to apply to as many trainee positions as possible and push to get a placement; even if that means moving out of London. These two weeks of work experience confirmed the area of work I want to be in after graduation.

– Jasmine George