Hartington Statistics and Data Management Ltd

Ron Keefe
Director of Hartington Statistics and Data Management Ltd

What I feel the benefits to my company are of having a placement student

Hartington is involved in the management and analysis of clinical trials data for the pharmaceutical industry. We have been taking placement students from De Montfort University for the past 5 years. The data management side of our work involves the entry, validation and manipulation of large amounts of data. This work requires staff who can work accurately and methodically as well as displaying a basic grasp of database programming. The placement students we have taken from De Montfort provide an excellent solution to finding staff who meet these requirements. Data entry staff are usually temps who are unable to undertake more complex tasks involving programming, we therefore have to use our experienced staff for this. The placement students not only provide a more “intelligent” data entry function, but are also able to be trained up to undertake validation and programming work. This frees up our more experienced staff to oversee the projects and concentrate on troubleshooting. This has proved to be a very cost effective way of achieving more throughput in project management without sacrificing the quality and accuracy of the clinical data involved.

How I feel the experience benefits the student

We are able to give the placement students experience in all areas of the work we undertake. As well as training in the fundamentals of clinical trials and Good Clinical Practice, they gain a great deal of experience in each stage of the data management process. By the end of their 12 months they can normally expect to have constructed a database, designed data entry screens, devised validation specifications, written and submitted validation programs. All this is achieved through a practical application of SAS software programming. The students also gain an introduction to the statistical analysis of clinical data and are able to produce tables, graphs, listings and reports. All these skills are very much in demand in the pharmaceutical industry.

In more general terms, the students gain experience of an actual working environment. This tests their communication skills, their time management abilities and their aptitude for teamwork and acquiring new skills.

My experience of DMU students

We have been consistently impressed with the quality of students we have taken from De Montfort University. We have found them to be a mature group of young people with a desire to gain as much experience as possible during their placement year. Most of the students have some experience of a working environment and as a consequence, they already display a very professional approach to the tasks they undertake. If a permanent vacancy occurs, we would welcome an application from a suitable former placement student. Indeed one of our experienced data managers was once a De Montfort placement student.



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