Gaining confidence and skills on placement

We caught up with Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences student Hayder, who has just returned to university following a placement year at local pharmaceutics company Custom Pharmaceutics. We chatted to him about life as a student at Brighton, his placement experience and what his plans are for this year and beyond.  

Many universities offered chemistry however when it came to a more specific course such as pharmaceutical sciences the options became more limited. When I first visited the university, it left a good impression on me with it being so career focused I had to choose it. As well as the city being so vibrant and pleasant to live in.

To sum up my course in three words, it is challenging, engaging and enjoyable. The projects are so unique and tailored to your enjoyment it really motivates you to do your best. It’s no longer just about a grade or assignment, it’s your research with your contribution to knowledge, with your name on it. 

I would definitely recommend my course. It is a course for those who enjoy a challenge and want to gain a lot of knowledge. Due to it being tailored to pharmaceutics it’s very relevant to industry and has strong career prospects.

Thanks to the range of topics covered in the first and second year it helps to give you a strong understanding of what you are interested in which helps aid in choosing your optional modules to tailor your third year to what you enjoy. The options for projects cover a range of areas. 

Academic staff have always been open to helping at any time. The course is very special in that there are a lot of seminars and discussions rather than just lectures, as well as many contact hours in the lab which help acquire a strong skills set and experience. 

I did my placement at Custom Pharmaceuticals Ltd where my role was as a Quality Control Technician. Custom is a local company which meant I could stay in Brighton and walk to work. The university helped me to find it; Custom came in and gave a talk and although I was originally on the fence about a placement I listened to the talk and thought why not. The placements office helped me with a CV and cover letter, as well as interview practice and top. I sent my application in on a Monday, had an interview on Tuesday and had the job that week!

Being a quality control analyst my main role was to do routine analysis on different pharmaceutics and ensure they met the standards to be fit for use. Other than that there were many other exciting roles such as conducting investigations, testing raw materials and took on projects for developing methods that enhanced the efficiency of equipment. 

The most interesting part was learning what to do when things went wrong. The interesting part was understanding why something went wrong, what caused it and how do you fix it. It with that knowledge I became a lot more confident on working independently. What I found most challenging was at the beginning not being as skilled as the other experiences analysts around myself where I was more prone to making mistakes, however the members of staff there were very supportive and trained me in lab skills where I felt I improved greatly. 

Especially when it came to analytical chemistry, which was the focus of my placement, the techniques I learned in lectures were put in practice all the time. In industry the applications of different theoretical equations and concepts learned in class became a lot more apparent when it came to processing results from testing. 

As the placement is a year long, and the majority of my time was spend doing practical work, my efficiency in the lab has greatly improved which will help me save essential time when it comes to my project. Having the hands-on experience with different equipment will benefit me greatly when trying to study the theory in more depth in my final year. 

Having experienced quality control and enjoying the project so far, I plan to complete a PhD after my degree and enter the field of research, probably in material science. For my final year project this year I plan to focus on materials science and recyling, hopefully working with a Sussex-based company.

If you are thinking of applying for this course, I would say the learning opportunities are vast, the support from you receive from academic staff and support staff is excellent and if you enjoy chemistry and enjoy a challenge, Pharmaceutical and Chemical sciences is definitely for you. 

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