Chemical Engineering

Undergraduate study

Chemical engineering students on placement at GSK

Industrial placements

We offer industry placements on all our courses. If you’re looking to gain hands-on experience at some of the world’s top companies we are the place for you.

We send over 15% more engineering students on year-long engineering placements than any other UK university.

(2016/17 HESA UG Student Record: Engineering & Technology)

The placement year is optional but is strongly encouraged because of the many benefits it can provide. Most students go on their placement after the second year, but MEng students can opt to take it after their third year.

Nicole's & Lorenzo's Placements at GSK

Nicole Perrin and Lorenzo Cioni, undergraduates from Loughborough University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, give an insight into their industrial placement year with GSK, alongside Greg Simmonds, a Loughborough Chemical Engineering Graduate, now with GSK as an Engineering Operations Manager

Mark's Placement at Unilever

Chemical Engineering student Mark has been on placement with Unilever for 12 months and gives us an insight into the projects and roles he has been working on throughout the year.

Key benefits of an industrial placement

  • Improved job prospects. A placement gives you real world experience that will help you stand out when applying for your first engineering job. Some placement students are offered a permanent job with their host company when they graduate
  • £15,000 - £20,000. All placements are fully salaried.
  • Professional status. A year of industrial work experience can contribute towards achieving professional status.
  • Develop professional skills. Time management, team working, presentation skills and project management are all developed on placement.
  • Professional practice. Put your knowledge gained during your degree into practice within a working environment alongside professional engineers.
  • Improved academic performance. Placement students often demonstrate an improved performance on return from a placement due to the additional experience and maturity they have gained.
  • Additional qualification. The Diploma in Industrial Studies (DIS) is awarded to students on successful completion of the placement.
  • Professional contacts. The placement year is an ideal opportunity to start making industrial contacts at your host company and amongst their customers and suppliers.

Companies providing recent placements

Companies with an asterisk have a long-standing relationship with us and expect to take students most years.

Chemical Engineering

  • 3M
  • ABB
  • BP
  • British Sugar
  • E-on
  • EDF
  • Esso
  • ExonMobil
  • GE Power &Water
  • GSK
  • Mars
  • JDE
  • Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells
  • Cadbury
  • Pepsico
  • Perenco
  • Pfizer
  • P&G
  • Proctor and Gamble
  • Rolls Royce
  • Sellafield LRD
  • Total
  • Unilever

Help to find a placement

Our students are keenly sought after by high profile engineering companies who know from past experience that Loughborough students are enthusiastic and equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to make a positive contribution to their organisation.

We have an Industrial Training Coordinator who gathers and supplies information about placement opportunities and advises students on what to expect from the placement experience. The placement process is overseen by the Schools Industrial Placement Tutor and we make every effort to help our students secure placements which match their interests and ambitions.

Choosing to take a placement

You can opt to take a placement at any point before it starts but most companies interview in the Autumn term of the preceding year so it is advisable to have made a decision by then. If you are not sure whether to take a placement you do not have to specify a sandwich option on your UCAS form.

During the placement, an engineer nominated by your employer will supervise you and you will also be visited by a university tutor at your place of work. Throughout the year in industry, you are required to write reports about your progress and experiences with your host company. On successful completion of the placement you will be awarded an additional qualification called the Diploma in Industrial Studies (DIS).

Chemical Engineering Placement contacts:

Placement Student Profiles

Our strong industry links allow our students the opportunity to work for some of the world's largest aeronautical and automotive companies. Click on the sliders below to find out about more about what our students experienced on their year in industry:


"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.

Chemical Engineering student on Placement with GSKMy 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." Nicole Perrin


"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 and experience, 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." Saul Algar


Pfizer Ltd

"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." Sophie Millns


British Sugar

"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." Jake Vincent


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!" Sherrie-Ann Najab


"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!" Christopher Harrison

Mars Petcare and Molson Coors Brewing Company

"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." Katherine Bexfield