Case Study

Callum Wallace did a three month internship with Victrex Plc. which was arranged through the Science and Technology Internship Programme.

How and why did you choose to work with business?

“I was recruited through the Science and Technology Internship Programme for a twelve week internship with Victrex Plc. I chose them because they are a highly motivated company with a great outlook into what they can achieve and how they can improve.”

Had you worked with a business before starting your project with the company?

“Never anything as long term or relevant to my degree as this before, I’d previously worked briefly with Alcatel Lucent and a charity.”

What problem did the organisation face? What did they ask you to do to help them?

“Victrex has collaborated with customers from various industries to push innovation and deliver solutions, such as metal-replacement polymers that can withstand the harshest operating conditions, are lightweight and can outperform metals. Robust plastics are hugely prevalent in manufacturing, and any improvement in their manufacturing procedure would be important to costs and efficiency. Victrex Plc wanted to research polyaryletherketone polymers and the chemistry behind their manufacture.”

What skills did you use and develop working with the company? Did you learn any new skills?

“The internship helped me to develop my problem-solving skills, and made me more flexible and adaptable, and computer literate. The internship helped me improve my skill set both in and out of the lab. Safe working procedures, stronger communication skills, time management are all things I developed that helped me acclimatise. It also re-enforced my problem-solving skills, and made me more flexible and adaptable.” 

What did you do?

“I was recruited through the Science and Technology Internship Programme for a three-month internship with Victrex Plc. I met with the company staff to gain an understanding of the research and development project, then undertook research into the core chemistry underpinning the manufacture of polyaryletherketone polymers and reported his findings to the company.”

Did you get paid? Did it cost you anything? What expenses did you have and were they paid for by the organisation?

“I was paid around £3,000 for the twelve-week internship.”

What was the best thing you did for the business?

“I brought the knowledge and expertise of a Lancaster University Science and Technology student, increased the company’s knowledge of chemistry behind polyaryletherketone polymer manufacture, saved management time, and dedicated resource and ability to focus on a specific project that would otherwise have drifted.”

What was the best thing about the project for you?

“The best thing about the project for me was meeting people who had completed my degree and seeing them implement it in an actually real world work environment”

What was the result? Has it lead to more projects?

“It’s allowed Victrex to assess the feasibility of producing certain polymers and open doors leading to further research of polyaryletherketone polymer manufacture.”

Did you get a job because of it?

“It’s too early to tell as I’m set to return to Lancaster to complete my masters however I feel it had given me a deeper insight in to the industry and provided me with a leg up above any future competition.”

Can you describe what it’s like studying at a top global 1% Lancaster University? 

“Lancaster stays with you; it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been there the bonds you make and the people you meet will never go. It feels as if the whole place is geared up to being a family. You have your friends, your house mates, your college and then the whole University, their all there to see you through. The campus is continuously being redeveloped, there’s so much green space and plenty of places to relax with friends. With 9 bars and college common rooms on campus you can find a place that’s to your liking, there is no pressure to fit in at one student’s union room or even within your own college. I can’t tell if it’s the freedom of Lancaster University, the sports facilities, the care of the staff, or just the ducks that wonder down the main walk way that makes Lancaster a place I enjoy so much but either way I don’t think I could of chosen a better place to study.” 

Would you recommend your course to prospective students? If so, why?

“Yes, it’s brand new, as the department has only recently started up again. The course reflects this - everything is newly designed. The department are focused on hearing the student voice and changing what they can to better our experience, whether it be moving courses around so they work better or scraping something entirely and replacing it.”