Forensic Science student benefits from vital laboratory work experience

Working in an industrial laboratory has empowered a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student to learn something new every day.

Olivia Watson, who is studying BSc Forensic Science, is picking up invaluable skills and knowledge as part of her 12-month work placement at the world-renowned BARD Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge.

Olivia Watson WEB

The third-year student is full of praise for everything she is learning as she knows it will prepare her for her future career.

She is working within the specialist area of analytical chemistry in the Quality Department, where her day-to-day responsibilities include stability testing a wide range of pharmaceutical products using the latest analytical techniques.

Olivia, 20, said: “The placement at BARD has allowed me to get a feel for life within the pharmaceutical industry, while applying the skills and knowledge I have gained from my time at DMU so far.

“The Forensic Science course at DMU covers such a massive breadth of knowledge, so the placement at BARD has allowed me to gain more in-depth understanding and experience within the more specific area of analytical chemistry.

“I have learnt many new analytical techniques, as well as learning how to work within an industrial lab and more importantly within a team.

“I have also developed a better understanding of lab safety and how to handle a number of chemicals. These are all skills which are important and transferable to many laboratory-based careers.”

BARD Pharmaceuticals was founded in 1966 and is known for its work in producing and supplying a range of medicines in a variety of therapy areas, including pain and respiratory medicine, to over 40 countries worldwide.

The company is based at the Cambridge Science Park in an iconic building affectionately known as ‘the toast rack.’

Olivia said she has also enjoyed learning more about the manufacturing process of pharmaceuticals, attending the company’s training courses and getting to know her colleagues. She says this has enabled her to “learn more about herself which has allowed her to perform better at work.”

Olivia said: “As a result of my placement, I have been able to achieve my goal of working in an industrial lab.

“I’ve just generally enjoyed my time here at BARD as I learn something new every day and I am becoming more and more competent as my time here goes on.”


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Olivia, who is from the Peak District, was offered the year’s placement after impressing bosses during a vigorous selection process. She submitted her CV and cover letter, and then attended an assessment centre and an interview.

Olivia is looking forward to returning to DMU to complete the final year of her degree. She says she has some ‘amazing memories’ of her time at DMU, especially in her role as Social Secretary for DMU hockey, including winning the league with the women’s first team and getting the opportunity to play in the cup final.

She said: “Once I graduate I am hoping to pursue a career within Forensic Science or continue developing my skills with an analytical chemistry lab.”

Work placements are offered across many courses as part of #DMUworks as many employers prefer to recruit graduates with industry experience. Placements include mandatory placements to undertake a professional qualification, or voluntary opportunities to complete a 12-month placement between a student’s second and third year of study.


Posted on Wednesday 21st March 2018

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