Published: 20 November 2018

Professional Training Conference celebrates placement successes

The Department of Physics welcomed 13 industrial companies and organisations to its Professional Training Conference on 26 October.

The Conference celebrated a successful year of Professional Training placements, with 29 physics students making a presentation about their experiences on their one-year paid placements in front of their industrial supervisors, academic staff and fellow students.

Participating in the day were representatives from 13 companies and institutions from a diverse range of sectors, including IBM, NPL, Tesla Engineering, the UK Home Office, and the Royal Surrey County Hospital.

The talks were grouped into seven different sessions, chaired by academics within the Department of Physics, covering topics such as ‘Aviation, Aerospace and Broadcasting’, ‘Radiation and Environmental Protection’ and ‘The Material World’.

Final-year student Emma Walmsley spent her Professional Training year with National Air Traffic Services (NATS) where she worked in the Technical Services team, making important technical contributions to help ensure the safety of the UK’s airspace. While on placement she also proved a great ambassador for the company, getting involved in outreach activities to schools, careers fairs and science festivals.

Emma said: “If I had to sum up my placement in three words, I’d say: challenging, motivating and networking. I got a really good set of transferable skills – things I wouldn’t have got just from University like leadership skills, working with a team, and knowing how to lead a meeting. This will set me in really good stead when I apply for graduate jobs.”

Jim Fowler, R&D Systems Engineer at PerkinElmer Ltd, who attended the Conference, commented: “I would really recommend to any company that’s considering taking on a Surrey student for a placement year that they do so. It’s been absolutely brilliant for us. There is a training period, just as with any new starter, but you’ll find these guys are really enthusiastic and as a company you’ll get great benefit from it.”

Professor Joe Keddie, who is the Senior Tutor for the Professional Training programme in Physics, said: “We are very proud of the many achievements of our 29 BSc students who have returned from their placement year. They have gained new skills in teamworking, communication and computer programming, along with technical skills, which will be great additions to their CVs.”

“It is a strong testament to their excellent work that several students have already received graduate job offers from their previous employers.”


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