An MChem with a Year in Industry Student

Alex Groves, Year 4

I decided to do a year in industry early in my degree as I thought it would teach me new skills and boost my confidence about working on my own project.

The skills I learnt and the knowledge I gained throughout my first three years at York helped make my final year in industry the success it has been. Thank you York!

I chose William Blythe as they are a small company and do inorganic chemistry which was what I enjoyed from lectures. Although I was sad to leave York behind, this year has been fantastic – I have been made to feel like a full member of the R&D department and have been trusted with projects that are of great commercial value to the company.

Throughout this year I have had the opportunity to see all stages of industrial research and development – from project creation right through to sending commercial samples. This really helped me understand how my degree can be applied to real live chemistry.

My original research project was based around the hydrothermal synthesis of nanoparticles which was something I had never even heard of before. Through this I not only learnt new synthetic techniques but also how to analyse my own material.

My resilience was also tested due to the challenging nature of the synthesis but I feel I have come out of this year a stronger chemist because of the problems I faced. This has helped shape what I am going to do after I graduate as I am moving on to do a PhD in this area.

Alex MChem Industry Profile

One thing Industry has really helped me with is my team working skills. When you are a member of a small team you all rely on each other’s strengths to get the job done.

I have also learnt how to work with people from different departments such as maintenance and quality control.

Being able to communicate to someone who doesn’t necessarily have your knowledge base is important and working with a diverse mix of people has helped me develop those communication skills.

I have also learnt a lot about safety and how a site which handles tonnes of dangerous chemicals can provide a safe and secure working environment.