Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Chemical Engineering

Placement profiles

Nicole Perrin


Nicole Perrin x 250

I chose a degree with a placement because I believed having a years’ industrial experience would put me at an advantage when applying for graduate positions. There were also so many industries that I was interested in and I wanted to try some of them before finishing university and making a graduate job decision.

My placement was at GlaxoSmithKline in Ware. I worked as a manufacturing engineer for the new product introduction site. This involved supporting production with all manner of engineering tasks and projects to allow them to deliver brand new drugs to the market for the first time. This was the first stage of bulk manufacturing so naturally, there were many obstacles to overcome as an engineer.

I have managed to complete not just a placement year during my degree course but also 3 other work placements ranging from summer internships to semester long research projects. It is these placements that I have enjoyed the most – I love taking what I have learnt in the classroom and putting it into practice in a real industrial environment.

I will be starting a graduate position as a process engineer with ExxonMobil when I graduate. I hope that the skills I have learnt both at university, and on my placement, will be put to good use. In particular the vast amount of project management skills I have acquired.

I would absolutely recommend doing a placement. There are so many skills to be learnt about engineering and work-life in general that cannot be taught in the classroom, so put yourself out there to learn them. On top of this, it’s a great advantage to have so much experience when you come to look for a graduate position.

To view a short video of Nicole and other Loughborough students speaking about their placements at GSK, please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtvJmoGrx0w

Saul Algar



I am working at AstraZeneca’s R&D site in Loughborough.

Day to day, I spend around 60% of my time working in labs doing practical work and 40% at my desk writing up and doing research. I have been assigned to three major projects, all of which are challenging and have taught me a great deal.

In the photo I am in the large scale lab, conducting solid suspension studies in conical based vessels.

As well as meeting some fantastic people, my placement has allowed me to grow in confidence andexperience, which will definitely help me to get a job in the future.

The varied experience I have gained at AstraZeneca is also helping me to decide which field of chemical engineering I would like to enter into in my future career.

Sophie Millns

Pfizer Ltd

Sophie Millns x 200

I chose to include a placement in my degree because I wanted the opportunity to apply my studies in real life situations. It also gave me an insight into working life and an idea of what kind of industry I could be involved in.

I worked in the Process Development Facility (Pilot Plant) which is in charge of manufacturing the active ingredients for clinical trials.

My main project through the year involved assessing the heat transfer capability of the reactors in the facility but I was also involved in day to day activities including purchasing of new equipment and incident investigations.

During my placement I enjoyed seeing how the knowledge we had learnt in lectures could be applied to real life situations and it was also rewarding to be in charge of projects and see them develop throughout the year. 

My placement definitely had a positive impact on my studies as it gave me an idea of the industry in which I wanted to work and therefore helped me to stay motivated and work hard for the last two years of my degree. Having carried out a placement, it gave me additional experience which helped me to be accepted for a research project in Australia during my PDP.

I am starting a job back at Pfizer in a different department, in the role of Manufacturing Coordinator where I will oversee the production of tablets for clinical trials. My degree has given me a head start in developing the skills I need for this role in the form of leadership and technical engineering knowledge. My placement will greatly help me in this role because I am familiar with the company and the process of developing pharmaceuticals.

I would encourage anyone considering doing a placement because it allows you to see the long-term opportunities available with a chemical engineering degree and also provides a great introduction to what life will be like after University.

Jake Vincent

British Sugar

profile pg jake

I am currently working for British Sugar at one of their sites near Norwich where sugar beet is taken straight from the field and after processing, leaves as a consumable product. This has given me experience of a huge range of processing techniques and projects.

I have learnt a great deal and also seen a lot of what I have learnt during my first two years at Loughborough in practice. I am in charge of two improvement projects totalling £90k and was also involved in optimising the running of a trial unit during the operational period.

I would definitely recommend doing an industrial placement as the experience has been brilliant and what I have learnt isn't limited to just Chemical Engineering. With the demands of the factory, my time management and productivity have improved, as well as my presentation skills as I have been given the opportunity to present on some of my projects to a number of management groups.

Sherrie-Ann Najab

Acetyls Manufacturing at BP Chemicals


I spent my 12 month industrial placement with Acetyls Manufacturing at BP Chemicals in Hull. During my placement I was given the responsibility of replacing a stripper column within a process plant. This required the development of a fit for purpose design which was both cost effective and practical to install.

Doing the placement not only allowed me to better understand the practical aspects of the role of a Chemical Engineer within a production setting, but also confirmed that Chemical Engineering was definitely the right career for me.

I thoroughly enjoyed my placement as both a personal and professional learning experience and I had no doubts about accepting BP’s offer of joining their graduate scheme when I completed my degree!

Christopher Harrison


C Harrison

I work for ExxonMobil at the Fawley Oil Refinery as a Project Development Engineer on the Fluidised Catalyst Cracking Unit (FCCU).

I oversee a variety of industrial processes in the Treating Units. As soon as I get into work, around 8am, I’m involved with monitoring and optimising the units and I meet with the rest of my Department to discuss the performance of the FCCUs as a whole.

I then spend the rest of the time working on projects; such as planning for unit shutdowns. In the photo I'm in full Protective and Respiratory Equipment preparing to go inside a Reactor, during a shutdown, to carry out inspection work.

I have found that my course has taught me how to approach problems in 'the real world' whilst the industrial experience has shown me how Chemical Engineering is applied to achieve meaningful goals and targets with a clear end product – and earning money is definitely a highlight as well!

Katherine Bexfield

Mars Petcare and Molson Coors Brewing Company

K Bexfield

During my MEng Chemical Engineering course I have had the opportunity to complete two industrial work placements – a 12-month industrial placement with Mars Petcare, and a 6-month research placement with Molson Coors Brewing Company as part of my Professional Development Project.

Throughout my time in industry, I have been responsible for the delivery of a variety of projects; from looking at the efficiency of a brewery to implementing energy saving measures within a pet food factory.

My two placements have given me the chance to put theoretical knowledge into practice while working with a wide range of people in interesting and challenging environments. I have also gained fantastic experience and skills which have been invaluable in helping me to secure a job as a graduate engineer with Molson Coors upon completion of my degree.

I was also supported by the Department in my recent application to the National Ford WISE (Women Into Science Engineering and Construction) Competition in which I was a runner up. I received a prize for my entry from the Princess Royal at the Royal Academy of Engineering.


Contact us

Department of Chemical Engineering
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

+44 (0)1509 222 533