School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sport Sciences

Will Atkin

Will Atkin

Will did one of our professional placement years.

During my degree, I completed an industrial placement at Allergan Biologics Liverpool. I found the job through the university careers service website and had help from the careers service to improve my CV. The application required a CV and covering letter with a few additional questions. This was followed by a phone interview and finally an onsite face-to-face interview. University provided me with lots of support to find a placement and stayed in contact throughout the placement.

My role was part of the Analytical Development team who developed analytical methods for gene therapy studies. I regularly performed assays including qPCR, ELISA, SDS-PAGE and western blots. I was also given the opportunity to work with some very expensive machines including a Biacore and genetic analyser. Allergan encouraged me to learn and gave me lots of freedom to work on my own development projects around sample testing. On my placement I independently developed a western blot assay and an automated ELISA method. Both of these I wouldn’t have been confident to do before my placement.

All the results I achieved in the lab needed to be communicated to various teams for their own development work. I learned to communicate with internal and external teams and individuals via phone, email and face-to-face. On top of this, I gave regular presentations to my own team and other teams regarding my own development work. As well as practical laboratory skills, I was trained to write risk and COSHH assessments which is a crucial skill needed to work in any laboratory environment. I really enjoyed my time at Allergan and learnt many skills I couldn’t have gained from university alone. I would strongly recommend a placement year to anyone considering the option.

Now I have finished my degree, I am looking for jobs in industry in the North East. I am also considering returning to university to complete a PhD in future and also have my eye on the NHS scientist training programme.